Any copyrighted material on these pages is used in "fair use", for the purpose of study, review or critical analysis only, and will be removed at the request of copyright owner(s).
Audio files are DELIBERATELY encoded "low-fi" to enable faster streaming and are intended as "illustrations" and "appetizers" only.
Official and "hi-fi" recordings can (and should) be purchased at your local record dealer or through a number of web-based companies, like CDNow.

To order available recordings right from this site:
CDnow's Country/Folk section!

All the music I heard up until I left Minnesota was... I didn't hear any folk music... I just heard Country and Western, rock and roll and polka music.

New York, 1965

Country music was roundly ignored by the record business until the mid-1920's, and even then it was considered outside the commercial mainstream, as was "race" or black music. Recording executives figured... that neither blacks nor hillbillies were likely to buy large quantities of records, and few urban whites were interested in anything so alien.

But radio almost killed off the record business in the mid-1920's.... Suddenly, the record companies had to become creative to survive, and they stumbled onto the idea of producing records in small quantities for limited audiences -- like blacks and hillbillies -- who weren't able to hear much of their favorite music on the radio. One of the earliest to realize this was Ralph Peer, of Okeh and then Victor Records, who at first didn't care for the music as much as for the market potential.... On one of his periodic talent hunts, he held auditions in the sleepy town of Bristol on the Virginia-Tennessee border and discovered both the Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers, who, between them, would transform country music from something Grandpa did on the back porch into a huge business....

Joe Klein, Woody Guthrie -- A Life, London, 1981, p. 57.

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