Peter La Chapelle

in Proud to Be an Okie

Published by University of California Press

Published in print April 2007 | ISBN: 9780520248885
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520940000 | DOI:

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This chapter notes that the Okie country music adopted a broadly defined, newly urbanized form of producerism which extolled producers, those who worked for a living, while reserving its rancor for the idle rich, greedy or unscrupulous capitalists, and other profiteers. Producerism could embrace women and minority workers but was especially concerned with those who worked with their hands. These producers were the hallowed “people” of the New Deal's populist economic rhetoric. Okie country music producerism occasionally attempted to open doors for women as well as racial and cultural minorities. Woody Guthrie was perhaps most representative of this group. He used the semicelebrity status he cultivated on his radio program first as a stepping-stone to commercial country music success, and then as a bully pulpit and sounding board for New Deal reforms, industrial unionism, and some forms of racial and economic egalitarianism.

Keywords: Okie country music; producerism; commercial country music; Woody Guthrie; New Deal reforms

Chapter.  12839 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: American Music

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