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ICLC Labor Day Conference

September 1, 1996

Panel--From Napoleon to Nashville
"
Country" Music - Made in New York City!?

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"DAMNED OLE OPRY" SHOW

What is the "musical culture" of the pessimistic American populist, wallowing in nostalgia for the Good Old Days and the glorious Lost Cause of the Confederacy? You guessed it: so-called Country and Western music. Where did Country and Western come from? You guessed it, again: not from the hills and hollers of rural America, but from test tubes of such cultural warfare centers as Theodore Adorno's Princeton Radio Research Project.

The straight story on Country and Western was brought to last weekend's ICLC Labor Day conference—in living color, with live music—by a troupe of C&W stars straight from Nashville, Tennessee's Damned Ole Opry.

The singers were led by Merry Heartbreak Trash (played by Marcia Merry Baker), who first gave some background on C&W: Its leading characteristics, she demonstrated, are as follows: 1) it's all about losers; 2) it's "Southern"; 3) it's loaded with "family values" nostalgia—papa, mama, baby sister and brother; 4) it's themes are losers' themes: Hurtin', Cryin', Cheatin', Lyin', Gamblin', Drinkin', Shootin', Dyin'; 5) its lyric line is simple-minded; 6) its melody line is monodic, NEVER polyphonic, and is matched with the "Gospel harmony" of stacked thirds; and 7) its instrumental accompaniment must be crude. She pointed out that Ernest Tubb and his Texas Troubadors played in the same key of C for 45 years.

Heartbreak-Trash traced some of the roots of C&W music, including such milestones as the Olney Hymnal in England in 1779 (original source for the words to Amazing Grace), through the London big-buck promotion of what came to be called "Gospel" by the 1870s, and into the era of mass proliferation of synthetic musical genres by the Radio Research Project beginning after World War I.

She compared the lyrics of a song included in Aldous Huxley's 1932 novel Brave New World, to the C&W i.d. format:

Lyrics from BRAVE NEW WORLD - - by Aldous Huxley, 1932

Bottle of mine, it's you I've always wanted!
Bottle of mine, why was I ever decanted?

Skies are blue inside of you,
The weather's always fine; For

There ain't no Bottle in all the world
Like that dear little Bottle of mine.

And then proceeded to prove to the audience how the "formula " worked. Merry Heartbreak Trash was joined on stage by: The Secessionist Strings--fiddlers, Atlanta Nancy and Chatanooga Davy (played by Nancy and David Shavin); (played by John Sigerson); Napoleon Bonaparte Roulade--"Frenchie"--on backup guitar (played by Raynald Rouleau); and Back-up singers, Bobbie Bo' and his singin' sweetie, Heartbreal's sister Susie Heartbreak Bo' (played by Bob and Susan Bowen).
On lead vocal and guitar was Bobbie Lee Trash, "the man in black," "hurtin' and cryin." (played by Bob Baker).

A five-song medley was performed by Bobbie Lee Trash, his back-up singers and Secessionist Strings, with a female special by the Heartbreak Sisters. The lyrics are by Web Tarpley, Word-Man from Nashville. (Costume consultant, Linda Kreingold).



Below is the unedited script used by Merry Heartbreak Trash (Marcia Merry Baker), on the Napoleon to Nashville Panel, September 1, 1996, Schiller Institute Conference, "We Are Changing World History," in Reston, Virginia:

"DAMNED OLE OPRY" SHOW

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Thank you. We have a show for you tonight. But first, I have

© Stuart K. Lewis
Merry Heartbreak Trash, leads ‘country’ band.
some things to tell you that aren't secret, but almost nobody knows. There's always been music in the country...but that's not "country" music.

-- [Overhead goes up:] "Country" was cooked up in a test tube.

In the 1920s and 30s--radio and phonograph records came into being. Agents came from New York City and from England. They were part of a "Radio Project".

They were called... A & R men. Stands for Artists and Repertoire. They created Country--who played, what they sang...what became pop-u-lar.

The mad scientist who headed up the Radio Project, was Professor Theo-dor Wies-en-grund--alias, A-dorn-o. In the 1930s, he ran the Princeton Radio Research Laboratory, at Princeton University. This was an arm of the Frankfurter Schule of mind control.

They set up big entertainment companies to use records, radio stations, and music printing to create pop-u-lar taste. In the 1920s and 30s... RCA Records, Columbia, Victor, Decca....

These people picked Nashville to be the center for "Country." The upfront money came from the National Life and Accident Insurance Company; and from the British-American tobacco cartels. (Some of you remember the Prince Albert show?) National Life Insurance started up WSM Radio--the Voice of Nashville, in 1925. And NBC carried WSM's programs nationwide.

They set up the Grand Ol' Opry...in the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, where the Confederate soldiers had their annual reunions.

This is how these people created the "Nashville Sound"..."Country"... "Honky Tonk"...Blues.

Know who created Gene Autry? An A & R man from England, Art Satherly.

[Overhead - Aldous Huxley Lyrics]

They even wrote the words. Here are Country song lyrics right out of Brave New World--the book by Aldous Huxley from 1932.

Ain't no bottle in all the world, Like that dear little bottle o' mine."

Lyrics from BRAVE NEW WORLD
by Aldous Huxley, 1932

Bottle of mine, it's you I've always wanted!
Bottle of mine, why was I ever decanted?

Skies are blue inside of you,
The weather's always fine; For

There ain't no Bottle in all the world
Like that dear little Bottle of mine.


So that's how it worked. And WSM/NBC radio people even decided how you looked. If you showed up tryin to look decent in a decent dress or suit, they made you take it off and look like a hick. Get your publicity photos in a barnyard...

[INTRODUCTIONS]

And now, I want to bring out our own performers. They're all good-lookers, and they do Country music like you've never heard it before. Please hold your applause until I tell you...we have a lot of talent here tonight...

Direct --- from the Damned Ol' Oprey!!!!

First, we have--one of the best all around musicians in the business today--Johnny Sig, on bass.

And from deep down in Cajun land, Napoleon Bonaparte Roulade--we call him Frenchie, on back-up guitar.

We have the Secessionist Strings... We have Atlanta Nancy and Chatanooga Davy doin' some wild and wooly fiddlin'. Let's hear it for the Secessionist Strings [Applause]

Now, we have two of the best back-up singers in Country today--
Bobbie Bo' and his singin' sweetie... Susie Heartbreak Bo' .Susie is my sister, and partner in the Heartbreak Sisters.

And direct from Nashville...the man in black...there's nothing like him...hurtin', cryin', lonesome... Bobbie... Lee... Trash !! !! !!

[Wild Applause]

Thank you.

Now, just a few more words, then we'll start. Getting back to what I was saying before...now you know how Country Music was made New York City.

[Performers all shout: [Bo]: What?...New York City?

[Sotto voce, Bobbie Bo': 'Somebody, Get a rope'....]

[Country Formula - Overhead.]

You know it's the truth! Here's the formula.

It has to be LOSER music.,,Should be Southern.. Confederacy...nostalgia for Old' South... Real real down-and-out stuff---losin', dyin', cheatin', lyin'...

Simple-minded....Single- melody line... I mean mon-o-dy. No pol-y-pho-ny.

And repeat over and over again.

The instrumental part must be crude. If you play the violin right...Show them the position, Nancy, honey...See, that's no good. You have to hold the fiddle like a hick...Like Chatanooga Davy is showin' you....

One famous Country star, Ernest Tubb and the Texas Troubadors, played everything in the same key of C for 45 years.

Finally--you use "Gospel" harmony. You take a simple melody--one you can learn instantly, and you stack thirds, or fifths or sixths, or anything like that, above and below it.

Atlanta Nancy, honey, give us an F and B-flat. We'll now demonstrate a line from my 1870s Gospel Hymns book. [Bobbie and Susie Heartbreak Bo, and Merry Trash now sing] a 4 part hymn, which has no polyphonic devevlopment).

So that's it. That's the formula for Country.

Formula music to dumb-down people goes way back, but we won't get in to that tonight.

[ OVERHEAD: BACKGROUND TIMELINE]

But look at a couple little things. In 1779 the "Olney Hymnal" was printed in England. It's the source of Amazing Grace words. Had 300 songs--intended to dumb-you down.

Millions of formula songs and hymns were printed...came to be called Gospel...London money backed it up. The idea was to keep simple-minded.

In 1893 there was a counter-operation set up in New York, to do classical and spiritual and great music, called the National Conservatory of Music, but it was defeated by 1895.

[OVERHEAD WILLIE NELSON]

So look what we got today. Willie Nelson.

When the farm crisis hit in 1980s, Willie was made thefigurehead for farmers. He's a loser. He has headed up 8 Farm Aid "Country" concerts. He wants marijuana legalized. He visited the White House and smoked dope on the roof. His son committed suicide.

[OVERHEAD - LEE-ANN RIMES]

Who's the hottest female star on the Country charts right now? A 13 year old. LeeAnn Rimes. ... "I may be only 13, by I know about hurtin' and cryin'."

Yes, indeed. She fits the formula for bein' a Country star.

Country and Western Medley

...And now, for our shoe. We got a medley of five songs, and we'll bring out the true meaning of Country.

All our lyrics were written special for tonight by Web Tarpkey--the Word Man from Nashville. And also, since we are speakin' and singin' in a foreign languange, we arranged to give you sur-titles [how do you spell this sir titles????] on the screen.

[Then proceeds the medley of five songs, with Country patter to introduce each one].

And now, we begin with a song givin' you our stand on current issues.

On Current Issues -
(Sung to the tune of "Folsom Prison Blues") Download video (MP3 format)

The deficit is risin.'
The country's off the track.
The feds are pushing gun control.
So let's fight back.

I want a balanced budget.
And my gun to shoot.
I'm sick of paying taxes.
I'm gonna vote for Newt.

Term limits are the answer.
Deregulation too.
I hate that guy Slick Willie
And his left crew.

It's time to cancel welfare.
Make the dead beats pay.
It's time to sign that contract.
With the whole U.S.A.

The nation state is rotten.
The empire is the best.
I am a raving Anglophile.
And that's no jest.

I'm formin' a militia,
With the KKK.
We'll join the great tradition
Of the old CSA.

And now, my sister Susie and I will sing of that timeless theme-- the alienation of hte human heart:

On the Timeless Theme: Alienation of the Human Heart
(Sung to the tune of "Your Cheatin' Heart")

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Adultery and alcohol,
Demoralize us one and all.
From sleazy bars,
And one night stands
There come the songs
Of country bands.

Jail terms come down,
Foreclosures too.
Cruel fate will frown
And conquer you.

The wretched grief
Of country fans
Becomes the songs
Of country bands.

Now this next song is for the Queen, the Royal Family, Ecology, and the world wild life:.

For the Royal Family, for Ecology and for all the World Wild Life-
(Sung to the tune of "I Walk the Line")
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Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

My ruling passion is that I am mean.
I hate the government cause it's not clean.
I've got resentments like you've never seen.
Because I'm green, I love the Queen.

There are too many people for the land.
Let plagues and famines lend a helping hand.
Progress and industry ought to be banned.
Because I'm green, I love the Queen.

I see a big threat in the ozone hole.
I think world government must play a role.
I hear Prince Philip says man has no soul.
Because I'm green, I love the Queen.
(repeat first stanza)


We get nostalgic, thinking back to the pre war times and to that "peculiar institution.."

Thinking Back to Pre-war Times- and that Peculiar Institution -
(Sung to the tune of "Detroit City") -
Download video (MP3 format)

Last year I took a course in race relations.
They taught me of the fight of black and white.
But it's hard to be white trash,
In an economic crash,
If only we'd return to pre-war times.
Turn back the clock.
Turn back the clock.
Oh, just turn back the clock.


And for our last number, we have to sing about the South, and Our Lost Cause...

On the Lost Cause
(Sung to the tune of "I'm Just an Okie from Muskogee") -
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We never came to terms with Appomattox.
We're still on the side of General Lee.
Jeff Davis fills our hearts with pure nostalgia.
And loser is the only thing to be.

We're doomed to be unreconstructed rebels.
The cause that has been lost will always last.
Our capital will always be in Richmond.
We're frozen in the nightmare of our past.

We're existentialists worse than the Frenchmen.
Refighting all the battles that we lost.
We never will accept this Yankee nation.
Where little men are always double-crossed.

(repeat chorus, We're doomed, etc.)