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Country Music U.S.A
By Bill C. Malone
University of Texas Press
1985
562 Pages
ISBN:  0-292-71095-X

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Since its first publication in 1968, Bill C. Malone's Country Music, U.S.A. has won universal acclaim as the definitive history of American country music. Now Malone has rewritten and extensively revised that classic work, exploring the past of country music in even greater depth and tracking its history to the present day.

In the past two decades, observers of the country music scene have witnessed the rise of the Nashville sound, the urban folk revival, rockabilly, country pop and rock and the "crossover" phenomenon, the Austin scene, and the explosive popularity of such performers as Willie Nelson and Dolly Parton. Malone brilliantly surveys these recent trends, giving both scholars and fans of country music a history that is at the same time immensely readable and authoritative. The newly revised book remains the best full-scale history of country music available, but is now richly interpretive as well, insightfully placing singers and songs within their social, cultural, and historical context.

From Jimmie Rodgers to Jerry Jeff Walker, from the Carter Family to the Flying Burrito Brothers, country music has swept from being the music of the rural South, expressive of the culture and isolated lives of its people, to a national and even international phenomenon. Malone's revised Country Music, U.S.A. is essential reading for all who wish better to understand the music and the society that nourished its growth.

  • Bill C. Malone was born into an East Texas tenant farm family whose members included a singer in the Pentecostal gospel tradition, several guitar-players, and a former square-dance caller. Exposed to country music since birth, Malone too caught "hillbilly fever." He sings and plays the guitar, and says that Country Music, U.S.A. is the result of twenty-three years of research, much travel, and "lots of picking and singing." His other books include "Stars of Country Music" (coedited with Judith McCulloh) and "Southern Music/American Music". He is presently professor of history at Tulane University in New Orleans.