Cover

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pp. 1-1

Series Page, Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. 2-9

Contents

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pp. vii-viii

Illustrations

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pp. ix-x

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Preface and Acknowledgments

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pp. xi-xiv

When I was growing up in the mining country of Arizona, country music was like sunshine or air, taken to be almost part of the physical environment. It was what I remembered hearing over the AM radio as my father’s dented late-1950s pickup dipped and bounced along the dusty road that led to our remote rural home. ...

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Introduction

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pp. 1-18

Sometimes the germs of a new social movement are found in the most unusual of places. Los Angeles in the late 1930s was one of those places. Twice a day on radio station KFVD, singer-guitarist Woody Guthrie joined vocalist Maxine “Lefty Lou” Crissman for a program that featured “old-time hill country songs.” ...

Part I. Big City Ways

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1. At the Crossroads of Whiteness: Antimigrant Activism, Eugenics, and Popular Culture

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pp. 21-44

If Dwight Yoakam is correct in insisting that the cultural ethnicity of country music is the “Grapes of Wrath culture,” then we must begin by considering how that “ethnicity” came into being. In some respects, Okie country music emerged on a sour note in the mid- to late 1930s: a time of privation, worrisome migration, and intense media scapegoating in California. ...

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2. Refugees:Woody Guthrie, “Lost Angeles,” and the Radicalization of Migrant Identity

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pp. 45-75

Conjuring up an image that seemed to revel in every squalid detail, Kenneth Crist’s May 1939 report on Okie trailer camps for the Los Angeles Times Sunday Magazine was typical “migrant horde” slander. The “trailerites” who resided in these camps on the outskirts of the city, Crist argued, were “loafers,” “career men in relief,” ...

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3. Rhythm Kings and Riveter Queens: Race, Gender, and the Eclectic Populism of Wartime Western Swing

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pp. 76-110

Coworkers Gustav H. W. Sudmeier and Vince “Little Fox” Waldron lived in two worlds. By day, they were industrial workers who cut, ground, honed, and crafted some of the most sophisticated aviation components of the 1940s. By night, they drew on their age-old inheritances as western swing musicians. ...

Part II. Rhinestones and Ranch Homes

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4. Ballads for the Crabgrass Frontier: Suburbanization, Whiteness, and the Unmaking of Okie Musical Ethnicity

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pp. 113-158

For a pop music disc jockey, the Los Angeles radio personality Art Laboe was unusually dispassionate in assessing the competition posed by country music. In a 1951 interview with Western Music, a new fan magazine whose very existence demonstrated the strength of the local country music market, Laboe lavished praise on the genre. ...

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5. Playing Second Fiddle No More? Country Music, Domesticity, and the Women’s Movement

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pp. 159-179

Country musicians rarely made the society page, so when the Antelope Valley Press asked to interview Spade and Ella Mae Cooley at the couple’s massive new ranch home in 1960, the couple quickly consented. Newcomers to the Antelope Valley, an area that was rapidly becoming the rural playground of the Hollywood jet set, ...

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6 Fightin’ Sides: “Okie from Muskogee,” Conservative Populism, and the Uses of Migrant Identity

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pp. 180-207

Merle Haggard was not only a bit bewildered at the reception of his first public performance of “Okie from Muskogee” but also under the impression that he was being attacked. A thirty-two-year-old country music artist from California’s Central Valley, Haggard was said to have written the song while touring the southeastern seaboard in 1969. ...

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Reprise: Dueling Populisms: The Okie Legacy in National and Regional Country Music

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pp. 208-222

In the years following “Okie from Muskogee,” Southern California remained influential in the world of country music, but more as a site for consumption than one of production. In the mid-1970s Capitol Records began conducting its country music studio sessions in Nashville, ...

Notes

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pp. 223-312

Selected Bibliography

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pp. 313-328

Index

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pp. 329-350

Production Notes

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pp. 368-368