Academic journal article The Journal of Southern History

In Tune: Charley Patton, Jimmie Rodgers, and the Roots of American Music

Academic journal article The Journal of Southern History

In Tune: Charley Patton, Jimmie Rodgers, and the Roots of American Music

Article excerpt

In Tune: Charley Patton, Jimmie Rodgers, and the Roots of American Music. By Ben Wynne. (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2014. Pp. [xiv], 270. $38.00, ISBN 978-0-8071-5780-0.)

The harsh segregation of the southern United States during the first three decades of the twentieth century created a racial divide that most considered to be impassable. Yet in this compelling book examining the parallel lives of black musician Charley Patton, the "King of the Delta Blues," and white musician Jimmie Rodgers, the "Father of Country Music," Ben Wynne aptly demonstrates the shortcomings of viewing every aspect of southern culture during this time simply through black or white lenses (pp. 2, 1). On the surface one would surmise that Patton (1891-1934), a descendant of slaves, and Rodgers (1897-1933), the grandson of Confederate soldiers, would be very different. However, they were both poor southerners living in a post-Civil War South where a small number of wealthy whites still influenced politics, owned most of the land, and controlled the economy. Born a little over a hundred miles apart, these sons of Mississippi grew up in a world where "[t]he deck was stacked against them," but they possessed "talent [that] was able to rise above the conditions under which they lived" (p. 3). Patton and Rodgers created "not black music or white music, but American music" that could be enjoyed and understood by audiences regardless of their skin color and that was significant to the evolution of American culture (p. 3).

The introduction provides an overview of Patton's and Rodgers's lives and the significance of their music, whetting the reader's appetite for the insightful research presented in the four chapters that follow. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.