The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 73, July 1969 - April, 1970

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

Malone begins his story in the South. Here, he points out, a rural
and isolated people created a regional music that became the core
for what is now called country music. Until the i 9 o's southern folk
music remained within its rural confines. However, the communica-
tions revolution broadened both its geographic base and general
acceptance. The radio and the success of such performers as Jimmy
Rodgers convinced the music industry of hillbilly music's commercial
appeal. Then the motion picture industry and its stars like Gene
Autrey wed together the image of the cowboy and country music,
giving birth to western swing and adding new prestige to this musical
Following prohibition honky tonks sprang up across the country.
These "juke joints" became gathering spots for the lower classes,
many of whom searched for their rural roots in the country songs.
The music changed to accommodate them. The din of the dance hall
brought electronic instruments and big bands, such as Ernest Tubbs'
group to the forefront in the field.
Malone believes that the war years solidified the national base
that country music was developing in the preceding decades. When
rural Americans left for the defense plants or the armed services
they took their music with them. The city did, however, transform
the music. Country musicians, particularly after the death of Hank
Williams in 1953, adopted more popular music forms. Malone con-
cludes that country music changed from a rural to an urban setting,
but it still tells of the common folk and maintains the rural themes
of alcohol, divorce, the eternal triangle, and tragedy.
Malone tells his story well. For the casual reader the book may
seem crammed with too much detail, but country music fans and
historians of the New South or of social history will discover both
a wealth of biographic data and useful historical information. This
reviewer recommends it highly.
North Texas State University ROBERT CALVERT
With Milam and Fannin. By Herman Ehrenberg. Translated by Char-
lotte Churchill. Edited by Henry Smith. (Austin, Texas: Pem-
berton Press, 1968. Pp. xv+227. Illustrations, index. $7.50.)
Although the events of Herman Ehrenberg's story occurred in 1835,
the 134 years since are bridged by the ardor of the cause he espoused
and by his sprightly style. Ehrenberg, born in Germany, volunteered


Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 73, July 1969 - April, 1970. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed May 25, 2016.

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