Rhythm Kings and Riveter Queens

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:
Rhythm Kings and Riveter Queens

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This chapter suggests that cultural borrowings and musical syncretism proliferated during wartime as local performers perfected their own version of western swing, a jazz-influenced country performance style originating in Texas and Oklahoma. It allowed migrants to test gender boundaries; dabble in African American, Latino, and immigrant musical traditions; and figuratively reshape themselves into worldly cosmopolitans and urban sophisticates, the Okie hepcats and rhythm kings. The relatively loose organizational structures of live radio and ballroom performances gave performers room to experiment with the more liberal threads of the New Deal and even some degree of racial egalitarianism.

Keywords: gender boundaries; racial egalitarianism; Okie hepcats; rhythm kings; ballroom performances

Chapter.  13969 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: American Music

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