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Proud to Be an OkieCultural Politics, Country Music, and Migration to Southern California$
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Peter La Chapelle

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780520248885

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520248885.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
Proud to Be an Okie

Peter La Chapelle

University of California Press

Beginning with Woody Guthrie and Merle Haggard, this chapter introduces the social movement of country music in Los Angeles. It follows the history of country music culture in Southern California from the height of the Dust Bowl migration in the mid-1930s to the relocation of key components of the local country music industry to Nashville in the early 1970s. The chapter discusses Okie country music and the rise and fall of an eclectic liberal populism, and also reassesses the cultural politics of country music. It concludes that the cultural ethnicity of country music is the Grapes of Wrath culture, a testament to the fans and performers that the Okie experience continues to resonate so powerfully within country music today.

Keywords:   Okie, cultural politics, country music, Dust Bowl, Merle Haggard, Woody Guthrie, Grapes of Wrath

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