Southern Cultures

Journal covering the history, politics, folklore, art, literature and social structure of the Southern U.S.

Articles from Vol. 12, No. 4, Winter

"A Blessing to People": Dorsey Dixon and His Sacred Mission of Song
I'm trying to serve the Lord in my weak way and trying to be a blessing to people, is what I been trying to do. In fact, I've tried to live right all my life, but, you know, we're not-going into the story about my life because I don't want that mentioned....
Aiming for Fame and Riches
Hear "My Tears Spoiled My Aim," sung by Tommy Edwards, on Passed Down Things, the CD attached inside this issue's back cover. Like many country songs, I suspect, "My Tears Spoiled My Aim" grew out of a title--in this case, one that came to me in...
Blue Yodeler: Jimmie Rodgers
James Charles Rodgers was born in Meridian, Mississippi, in 1897. His mother, Eliza, died when he was four years old. After that, he was off riding the rods with his father, a foreman on the Mobile and Ohio Railroad. By the time he reached fourteen,...
Dixie Dewdrop: Uncle Dave Macon
David Harrison Macon was born at Smart Station near McMinnville on the Highland Rim of Tennessee in 1870. As long as anyone could remember, he was "nuts about a banjo." When Dave was thirteen, his father, a Confederate captain, bought the Broadway...
"Everything Leads Me Back to the Feeling of the Blues." B.B. King, 1974
INTRODUCTION B.B. King's name is synonymous with the blues. At the age of eighty-one, the blues patriarch maintains a rigorous schedule of performances throughout the nation and overseas that would exhaust a much younger artist. King's performances...
Front Porch
Spirituals, blues, Dixieland, jazz. Ballads, old-time, hillbilly, bluegrass. Country, Cajun, zydeco. Sacred Harp, gospel, Christian rock. R&B, rock 'n' roll, rockabilly, "southern rock." Nashville, honky-tonk, alt-country, progressive country....
Give Me That Old-Time Music ... or Not
Southerners have every right to be proud of the music we have produced and bequeathed to the entire globe. American popular culture would be unimaginable without the music--blues and rock 'n' roll, jazz and country, gospel and bluegrass, salsa and...
"Just a Little Talk with Jesus": Elvis Presley, Religious Music, and Southern Spirituality
In December 1956 Elvis Presley dropped in at Sun Studios in Memphis, just as a Carl Perkins recording session was ending. Presley was now a national star, having transcended earlier that year his previous status as a regional rockabilly performer....
King of the Hillbillies: Hank Williams
Hiram "Hank" Williams was born on a tenant farm in Mt. Olive, Alabama, in 1923. His daddy Lon was a Great War veteran--he owned a store, grew berries, engineered on a timber train. He went into a veterans hospital when Hank was just six, and he never...
Passed Down Things: Liner Notes and Track List
Note: The Special Music Issue's CD is attached inside the back cover. If the blues, as B.B. King says, is "a passed-down thing," it is a most unusual kind of hand-me-down. For the blues tradition inspires musicians to preserve its legacy even while...
"The South Got Something to Say": Atlanta's Dirty South and the Southernization of Hip-Hop America
By the summer of 1995, the Atlanta-based rap group OutKast had watched their first album, Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik, achieve platinum sales of over one million. This feat earned them an award for "Best New Group" from The Source magazine and...
"Where Is the Love?" Racial Violence, Racial Healing, and Blues Communities
Where is the Love?" is the title of a memorably wistful duet recorded in the early seventies by Roberta Hack and Donny Hathaway; a lament for the way in which Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream of redemptive interracial brotherhood or "beloved community,"...
Wildwood Flowers: The Carter Family
The Carters started small, singing in churches ... Alvin Pleasant Carter, born in 1891, sang in a quartet with two uncles and a sister in churches around Clinch Mountain in southwest Virginia. People called him A. R, or Doc. He learned to play the...