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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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Ballads for the Crabgrass Frontier

Ballads for the Crabgrass Frontier

Suburbanization, Whiteness, and the Unmaking of Okie Musical Ethnicity

Chapter:
(p.113) 4 Ballads for the Crabgrass Frontier
Source:
Proud to Be an Okie
Author(s):

Peter La Chapelle

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520248885.003.0005

This chapter argues that pressure to fit in was an important impetus for the rightward turn in country music. Consumers, sponsors, and musical producers strived in the mid- to late 1950s to rehabilitate local country music's hayseed image and disassociate the genre from the Depression-era anti-Okie campaign and its lingering stigma by downplaying working-class and Okie identity, discouraging liberal-populist political dissent and stressing how elements of the music culture could convey social status. While this muzzled some performers, it also provided room for a small group of wealthy, well-connected performers—especially some of the 1930s cinematic singing cowboys—to come to the forefront and present themselves as antielitist spokesmen for a new, conservative cultural populism.

Keywords:   musical producers, country music, Okie identity, music culture, social status, cultural populism

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