The Nashville Sound is a blend of pop and country that developed in the 1950′s. A result of this blending was many crossover hits by the 50′s king of country pop, Jim Reeves (1924-1964.) Reeves possesed a smooth voice which was combined with mellow string orchestration and slick production techniques to make this enormousely popular sound.
With the release in 1957 of “Four Walls,” the Nashville sound was defined and Country Music met pop. Included here is “Welcome to My World” (83k thumbnail). (677k longer version.)
Patsy Cline :
Some call Patsy Cline (1924-1963) the greatest female Country Music vocalist ever and one listen to any of her many many hits and it is hard to argue this claim. She produced a string of huge hits beginning in 1957 into the early 1960′s including “I Fall to Pieces,” (198k thumbnail) (759k longer version) which is featured here.
Patsy’s… Continue reading
Perhaps no other style of country music has had a greater influence on today’s artists than the style known as Honky Tonk. Honky Tonk music embodied the spirit of dancing and drinking, and loving and then losing the one you love. Its greatest practioners owe their singing style to Jimmie Rodgers and much of the music to the steel guitar and drums of Bob Wills and Western Swing.
Ernest Tubb (1914-1984) arrived at the Grand Ole Opry from Texas in 1941 and brought with him amplified instruments and the honky tonk sound of the southwestern oil fields and taverns. His greatest hit is “Walking the floor over you” but I have include here, “Let’s say Goodbye, Like We said Hello” (165k tumbnail) (743k longer version.)
Lefty Frizzell (1928-1975) started recording in 1947 and in 1951 had four songs in the top ten. He was, during… Continue reading
Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys
This pioneer invented the style of music we know today as bluegrass. During the late thirties and into the early 40′s Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys (from whom the style derived its name) experimented with instrumental techniques on the guitar, bass, fiddle and mandolin and created a sound which would later be known as bluegrass.
It was with the later addition of Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs and Sruggs’ unique style of banjo picking in 1940′s that this style of music arrived at it’s style that we think of today. Among Monroe’s best known songs is “Blue Moon of Kentucky.” Included in this exhibit is “I’m Going Back to Old Kentucky.” (83k thumbnail). (611k longer version.)
Bob Wills (1905-1975)
This very popular style of Country Music developed in Texas and Oklahoma the 1930′s and saw enormous popularity in the 40′s. The style is a blend of big band, blues, dixieland, and jazz among others. Musically, it contributed the drums and Hawaiian Steel Guitar to Country Music. It was a Saturday night dance type of music which combined the style of jazz and big band swing with the culture of the Southwest.
Bob Wills is known as the “King of Western Swing”. He perfected this style in the late 1930′s with his band the “Texas Playboys.” Many of his greatest hits were recorded between 1936 and 1943. They include “San Antonio Rose” and “Take Me Back to Tulsa.” Find included here a less poular but none the less typical Wills recording called “Liza, Pull Down the Shade” (132k thumbnail) (738k long version) from 1938.
Included are lyrics… Continue reading
The songs of Gene Autry and Roy Rogers put the Western in Country and Western Music. Much of this music was written for and brought to the american public through the cowboy films of the 30′s and 40′s and was widely popular.
The quintessential singing cowboy is Gene Autry (1907-) but the best of the musicicans and song writers were the Sons of the Pioneers. This group recorded many of the songs that we asssociate with this style of music, “Tumbling Tumbleweeds” and “Cool Water.”
Perhaps no other institution is more synonymous with country music than WSM Radio’s Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee. Since 1925 it has featured country music acts on it’s stage for live Saturday night broadcasts. This program has introduced the nation to most, if not all, of the greats of country music and to this day membership on the Opry remains one of a Country Music artists greatest ambitions.
The Opry began as a show with primarily part-time artists who used the show to promote their live apearances throughout the South and Midwest, but with the help of Roy Acuff, the professionalism of country music became established at the Opry.
The King of Country Music became the Grand Ole Opry’s biggest singing star when he arrived in 1938. Because he, like many of this counterparts, did not record much, his influence has not been in the form… Continue reading
Although musicians had been recording fiddle tunes (known as Old Time Music at that time) in the southern Appalachains for several years, It wasn’t until August 1, 1927 in Bristol, Tennessee, that Country music really began. On that day and in that place, Ralph Peer signed Jimmie Rodgers and the Carter Family to recording contracts for Victor Records.
These two recording acts set the tone for those to follow – Rodgers with his unique singing style and the Carters with their extensive recordings of old time music.
Rodgers (1897-1933) influence can be heard in the singing styles of such recording artists as Ernest Tubb and Hank Williams. His yodeling songs were wildly popular throughout America. Included in this exhibit is Blue Yodel #1 (T for Texas) (149k tumbnail) (660k longer version.) one of his most famous, recorded in 1927.
Maybelle, A.P., and Sara Carter… Continue reading
Welcome to the World Wide Web’s first exhibit focusing on the history of Country Music. This exhibit has an emphasis on the influential artists and songs of the 1930′s, 40′s, 50′s and early 60′s.
Find here, documentation on such artists as, Bob Wills, Hank Williams, Patsy Cline and Lefty Frizzell, among others. Specifically, look for images, sound clips, and digital movies.
Of course, what you will find is not a complete history of country music. This is an overview, an overview from the perspective of the curator (me.) The content is limited to what I could find and then edited according to what I believe is important and intersting to me. This exhibition is as much personal as it is accurate.
The Beginnings 20′s and 30′s:
I begin with the two most important figures at the beginning of modern country music, Jimmie Rodgers and the… Continue reading
Country America” magazine published a list of the “Top 100 Country Songs of
All Time” in the October 1992 issue. The list was generated by asking the readers for their favorite songs, and then merging these lists with lists from a group of “country music critics”. They only counted songs that appeared on *BOTH* top-100 lists, taking the average of the two.
I had some free time, so I figured, what the hell, I’ll type in all 100 song Continue reading