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Hillbilly Music. American Popular Music Week 4, Monday Dr. Joseph Harchanko. Hillbilly Records. British Isles Folk songs Ballads Dance music Hawaiian guitar bands Swiss yodeling Tin Pan Alley Sentimental songs. Fiddlin’ John Carson.

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Hillbilly Music

American Popular Music

Week 4, Monday

Dr. Joseph Harchanko


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Hillbilly Records

  • British Isles

    • Folk songs

    • Ballads

    • Dance music

  • Hawaiian guitar bands

  • Swiss yodeling

  • Tin Pan Alley Sentimental songs


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Fiddlin’ John Carson

  • First successful hillbilly record, Okeh Records in 1923

  • Little Old Log Cabin in the Lane

  • The Old Hen Cackled and the Rooster’s Going to Crow


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Radio and Hillbilly music

  • Many farmers and working class people could not afford phonographs

  • “Barn Dance” format [Grand Ole’ Opry]


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Early Country Music

  • Religion and tradition - The Carter Familly

    • Ballads

    • Love songs

    • Family, hearth and home

    • Adpatations of Anglo-American folk songs, old hymns, sacred heart singing, and sentimental songs (TPA)

  • Rambin’ and rabble rousin’ - Jimmie Rodgers

    • Tales of broken love

    • Distance from loved ones

    • Restless movement

Play “Can the Circle Be Unbroken” and

”Gospel Ship” from course CD

These are the 2 distinct trends of Early Country Music


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Jimmie Rodgers

  • The Singing brakeman

  • Most versatile, progressive, and widely influential of all early country music musicians

  • Early death from tb

Play “Blue Yodel” from course CD


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Music of Jimmie Rodgers

  • Freedom through unpredictable phrasing

  • Guitar is accompanimental. No melodic response (Jefferson) or rhythmic counterpoint (Johnson).


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Play “Guthrie.mp3”

Woodie Guthrie

Note on guitar the words:

“This machine kills fascists”

What do you think this means?