Thursday, July 22, 2004


Platinum Anniversary

Thanks to the incomparable Susan comes this fascinating bit of history.

For it was 80 years ago this week that a Texas-born, classically trained singer, previously more comfortable with full-throated Puccini than warbled hillbilly anthems, walked into a New York City studio to cut two songs that would help change the record industry forever. Vernon Dalhart’s record of “The Prisoner’s Song” backed with “Wreck of the Old 97” not only became the biggest-selling record of the 1920s, but it taught the biz that country music was a viable market, and all of a sudden, decades of recording-industry prejudice disappeared in a cloud of capitalism.

Vernon Dalhart is also notable in my books for cutting the creationist toe-tapper "The John T Scopes Trial."

In the spirit of remembering the glorious dead, some Tennessee station is airing this doco about The Carter Family but us out-of-staters can read about it: here.

''Coming from Appalachian culture and knowing the stereotype and stigma placed on that culture and the poverty, it's refreshing to find out how sophisticated these people were, how ambitious and driven and businesslike. It was not like these people were just sitting on their back porch just playing this music to relax after a hard day's work. They saw the beauty of this music and universality of it,'' said WNPT's Kathy Conkwright, who wrote, directed and produced the documentary.

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