Don't Get above Your Raisin': Country Music and the Southern Working Class
Author: Bill C. Malone
Publication date : 2001
University of Illinois Press
Combining a high-spirited history of country music's roots with vivid portraits of its primary performers, "Don't Get above Your Raisin'" examines the close relationship between "America's truest music" and the working-class culture that has constituted its principal source, nurtured its development, and provided its most dedicated supporters. Widely recognized as country music's ranking senior authority, Bill C. Malone explores how the music's defining themes (home and family, religion, rambling, frolic, humor, and politics) have emerged out of the particularities of working people's day-to-day lives. He traces the many contradictory voices and messages of a music that simultaneously extols the virtues of home and the joys of rambling, the assurances of the Christian life and the ecstasies of hedonism, the strength of working-class life and the material lure of middle-class aspirations. The resulting tensions, Malone argues, are a major reason for the music's enduring appeal.
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