Okay top hands, here comes the third installment of “The History of Country Music”, written and narrated by Hugh Cherry about fifty years ago. It ran on KAYO in 1971.
From the 1940’s onward, Hugh Cherry was active in country music as a CMA Hall of Fame disc jockey and music historian. He said he talked about the music he played because he was “the unfunniest man in radio”. Much of the lore he learned was from hanging out backstage at the Grand Ole Opry and asking everybody lots of questions.
In this episode, early groups, Jimmie Rodgers, Bradley Kinkaid, Pie Plant Pete, Vernon Dalhart, Mother Maybelle and her lovely lively daughters all receive mention and attention.
Drinkin’, cheatin’, prayin’, singin’, workin’, courtin’, strummin’, pluckin’, hard time in the big house, overnights in the local pokey, chasin’ a plow through the mud. Listen to country – your life story’s there somewhere.A Variety of Early Groups (5:31)
The Railroad in Country Music (8:48)
The Skillet Lickers (4:21)
Early Folk Influence – Bradley Kinkaid (6:45)
Religious Music (7:51)
Prisons in Country Music (9:17)
Toward the end of Hour 3, in the prison segment, we hear Johnny Cash sing “Folsom Prison Blues”. Although he was given credit for the words and music (Hi-Lo Music Inc., 1956), Cash got the melody and some of the lyrics from “Crescent City Blues”, a song written by Gordon Jenkins and sung by his wife, Beverly Mahr, on his 1953 Decca concept album, “Seven Dreams”. In 1968, when the “Live at Folsom Prison” LP was released and “Folsom Prison Blues” became a hit for the second time, Jenkins sued Cash and got $75,000.
“Crescent City Blues” is included here.
Gordon Jenkins & His Orchestra, vocal by Beverly Mahr – Crescent City Blues (3:22)
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