A Good-Natured Riot: The Birth of the Grand Ole Opry

4.04 avg rating
( 23 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780826513311: A Good-Natured Riot: The Birth of the Grand Ole Opry
View all copies of this ISBN edition:
 
 

The Story of the Opry's Humble Beginnings.
Winner of a Ralph J. Gleason Music Book Award
Winner of The ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award



Vanderbilt University Press and the Country Music Foundation Press are Proud to Bring You the Story of the Opry's Humble Beginnings.



On November 28, 1925, a white-bearded man sat before one of Nashville radio station WSM's newfangled carbon microphones to play a few old-time fiddle tunes. Uncle Jimmy Thompson played on the air for an hour that night, and throughout the region listeners at their old crystal sets suddenly perked up. Back in Nashville the response at the offices of National Life Insurance Company, which owned radio station WSM ("We Shield Millions"), was dramatic; phone calls and telegrams poured into the station, many of them making special requests. It was not long before station manager George D. Hay was besieged by pickers and fiddlers of every variety, as well as hoedown bands, singers, and comedians -- all wanting their shot at the Saturday night airwaves. "We soon had a good-natured riot on our hands," Hay later recalled. And, thus, the Opry was born.



Or so the story goes. In truth, the birth of the Opry was a far more complicated event than even Hay, "the solemn old Judge," remembered. The veteran performers of that era are all gone now, but since the 1970s pioneering country music historian Charles K. Wolfe has spent countless hours recording the oral history of the principals and their families and mining archival materials from the Country Music Foundation and elsewhere to understand just what those early days were like. The story that he has reconstructed is fascinating. Both a detailed history and a group biography of the Opry's early years, A Good-Natured Riot provides the first comprehensive and thoroughly researched account of the personalities, the music, and the social and cultural conditions that were such fertile ground for the growth of a radio show that was to become an essential part of American culture.



Wolfe traces the unsure beginnings of the Opry through its many incarnations, through cast tours of the South, the Great Depression, commercial sponsorship by companies like Prince Albert Tobacco, and the first national radio linkups. He gives colorful and engaging portraits of the motley assembly of the first Opry casts -- amateurs from the hills and valleys surrounding Nashville, like harmonica player Dr. Humphrey Bate ("Dean of the Opry") and fiddler Sid Harkreader, virtuoso string bands like the Dixieliners, colorful hoedown bands like the Gully Jumpers and the Fruit Jar Drinkers, the important African American performer DeFord Bailey, vaudeville acts and comedians like Lasses and Honey, through more professional groups such as the Vagabonds, the Delmore Brothers, Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys, and perennial favorite Roy Acuff and his Smoky Mountain Boys.



With dozens of wonderful photographs and a complete roster of every performer and performance of these early Opry years, A Good-Natured Riot gives a full and authoritative portrayal of the colorful beginnings of WSM's barn dance program up to 1940, by which time the Grand Ole Opry had found its national audience and was poised to become the legendary institution that it remains to this day.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

Review:

When Nashville's National Life and Accident Insurance Company created radio station WSM as an advertising vehicle--the call letters representing their corporate slogan, "We Shield Millions"--no one suspected its "old-time music" program would one day be country music's shining star. In A Good-Natured Riot, author Charles Wolfe offers a thorough, valuable examination of the Grand Ole Opry's formative years, answering the questions that the genre's recorded history cannot (simply because most of the Opry's earliest stalwarts were part-time musicians who were rarely recorded). Interestingly, WSM wasn't the first station to broadcast old-time music, and the citizens of Nashville, who considered theirs to be an erudite and cultured city, despised hillbilly music and any association with it. Nevertheless, the nearby Tennessee hills offered a wealth of authentic old-time music, and rural folks from all across the U.S. (the airwaves were quite clear at the time) adored the sounds of Uncle Jimmy Thompson and Dr. Humphrey Bate. Soon enough, the music's popularity led WSM station manager George Hay to create a weekly Barn Dance program in the fall of 1925.

The bulk of Wolfe's chronicle is told through discussions of the Opry's stars, their lives, and their music, adding station logs, repertoire listings, press releases, and news clippings to his own extensive interviews and research. He progresses from early staples like Bate, Thompson, DeFord Bailey, and Uncle Dave Macon (the only early member who was actually a well-known professional musician), to innovators like the McGee Brothers, Fiddlin' Arthur Smith, and the Delmore Brothers, to Roy Acuff and Bill Monroe, who brought country music into the modern age. By the time Acuff and Monroe held sway, circa 1940, the Opry had become a nationally syndicated NBC show and most of its stars were actively and successfully making records. Wolfe documents the first 15 years of the Opry in incredible detail, and in doing so illustrates the development of old-time music from homespun, informal diversion to finely honed commercial powerhouse. --Marc Greilsamer

About the Author:

Charles K. Wolfe, professor of English at Middle Tennessee State University, was one of the leading experts on the history and development of country music. He was the A01 of The Devil's Box: Masters of Southern Fiddling (Vanderbilt/Country Music Foundation Press) and more than a dozen other books whose subjects range from Leadbelly to the Louvin Brothers.

He is sorely missed.

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

Buy New View Book
List Price: US$ 29.95
US$ 48.77

Convert currency

Shipping: FREE
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.

Destination, rates & speeds

Add to Basket

Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780826520746: A Good-Natured Riot: The Birth of the Grand Ole Opry (Co-published with the Country Music Foundation Press)

Featured Edition

ISBN 10:  082652074X ISBN 13:  9780826520746
Publisher: Vanderbilt Univ Press - Country ..., 2015
Softcover

Top Search Results from the AbeBooks Marketplace

1.

Charles K. Wolfe
Published by Vanderbilt University Press, United States (1999)
ISBN 10: 082651331X ISBN 13: 9780826513311
New Hardcover Quantity Available: 10
Seller:
Book Depository hard to find
(London, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Vanderbilt University Press, United States, 1999. Hardback. Condition: New. New.. Language: English. Brand new Book. Winner of the Ralph J. Gleason Music Book AwardWinner of the ASCAP Deems Taylor Award On November 28, 1925, a white-bearded man sat before one of Nashville radio station WSM's newfangled carbon microphones to play a few old-time fiddle tunes. Uncle Jimmy Thompson played on the air for an hour that night, and throughout the region listeners at their old crystal sets suddenly perked up. Back in Nashville the response at the offices of National Life Insurance Company, which owned radio station WSM ("We Shield Millions"), was dramatic; phone calls and telegrams poured into the station, many of them making special requests. It was not long before station manager George D. Hay was besieged by pickers and fiddlers of every variety, as well as hoedown bands, singers, and comedians--all wanting their shot at the Saturday night airwaves. "We soon had a good-natured riot on our hands," Hay later recalled. And, thus, the Opry was born. Or so the story goes. In truth, the birth of the Opry was a far more complicated event than even Hay, "the solemn old Judge," remembered. The veteran performers of that era are all gone now, but since the 1970s pioneering country music historian Charles K. Wolfe has spent countless hours recording the oral history of the principals and their families and mining archival materials from the Country Music Foundation and elsewhere to understand just what those early days were like. The story that he has reconstructed is fascinating. Both a detailed history and a group biography of the Opry's early years, A Good-Natured Riot provides the first comprehensive and thoroughly researched account of the personalities, the music, and the social and cultural conditions that were such fertile ground for the growth of a radio show that was to become an essential part of American culture. Wolfe traces the unsure beginnings of the Opry through its many incarnations, through cast tours of the South, the Great Depression, commercial sponsorship by companies like Prince Albert Tobacco, and the first national radio linkups. He gives colorful and engaging portraits of the motley assembly of the first Opry casts--amateurs from the hills and valleys surrounding Nashville, like harmonica player Dr. Humphrey Bate ("Dean of the Opry") and fiddler Sid Harkreader, virtuoso string bands like the Dixieliners, colorful hoedown bands like the Gully Jumpers and the Fruit Jar Drinkers, the important African American performer DeFord Bailey, vaudeville acts and comedians like Lasses and Honey, through more professional groups such as the Vagabonds, the Delmore Brothers, Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys, and perennial favorite Roy Acuff and his Smoky Mountain Boys. With dozens of wonderful photographs and a complete roster of every performer and performance of these early Opry years, A Good-Natured Riot gives a full and authoritative portrayal of the colorful beginnings of WSM's barn dance program up to 1940, by which time the Grand Ole Opry had found its national audience and was poised to become the legendary institution that it remains to this day. Seller Inventory # TNP9780826513311

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 48.77
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

2.

WOLFE
Published by Vanderbilt University Press (1999)
ISBN 10: 082651331X ISBN 13: 9780826513311
New Hardcover Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Herb Tandree Philosophy Books
(Stroud, GLOS, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Vanderbilt University Press, 1999. Hardback. Condition: NEW. 9780826513311 This listing is a new book, a title currently in-print which we order directly and immediately from the publisher. For all enquiries, please contact Herb Tandree Philosophy Books directly - customer service is our primary goal. Seller Inventory # HTANDREE01023415

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 43.74
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 10.45
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

3.

Charles K. Wolfe
Published by Vanderbilt Univ Press - Country Music Foundation Press (1999)
ISBN 10: 082651331X ISBN 13: 9780826513311
New Hardcover Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Ergodebooks
(RICHMOND, TX, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Vanderbilt Univ Press - Country Music Foundation Press, 1999. Hardcover. Condition: New. Seller Inventory # DADAX082651331X

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 55.36
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.99
Within U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

4.

Wolfe, Charles K.
Published by Country Music Foundation Press (1999)
ISBN 10: 082651331X ISBN 13: 9780826513311
New Hardcover Quantity Available: 2
Seller:
Murray Media
(NORTH MIAMI BEACH, FL, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Country Music Foundation Press, 1999. Hardcover. Condition: New. Never used!. Seller Inventory # P11082651331X

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 64.73
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

5.

Charles K. Wolfe
Published by Country Music Foundation Press (1999)
ISBN 10: 082651331X ISBN 13: 9780826513311
New Hardcover Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Irish Booksellers
(Portland, ME, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Country Music Foundation Press, 1999. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M082651331X

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 63.71
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.27
Within U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

6.

Charles K. Wolfe
ISBN 10: 082651331X ISBN 13: 9780826513311
New Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
BennettBooksLtd
(San Diego, CA, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Condition: New. New. Seller Inventory # STRM-082651331X

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 79.69
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 4.95
Within U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

7.

Charles K. Wolfe
ISBN 10: 082651331X ISBN 13: 9780826513311
New Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
BennettBooksLtd
(San Diego, CA, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Condition: New. New. Seller Inventory # STRM-082651331x

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 79.69
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 4.95
Within U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

8.

Charles K. Wolfe
Published by Country Music Foundation Press (1999)
ISBN 10: 082651331X ISBN 13: 9780826513311
New Hardcover First Edition Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Books Express
(Portsmouth, NH, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Country Music Foundation Press, 1999. Hardcover. Condition: New. 1st. Ships with Tracking Number! INTERNATIONAL WORLDWIDE Shipping available. Buy with confidence, excellent customer service!. Seller Inventory # 082651331Xn

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 170.49
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds