From Publishers Weekly
Country music fans will love this chatty, behind-the-scenes chronicle of one of country's most popular postwar radio programs, Louisiana Hayride, from the man who made it happen. On the air from 1948 to the late 1950s, the Hayride, headquartered in Shreveport, helped make country music popular beyond the SouthAthanks to syndication on the CBS Radio NetworkAand helped build the careers of some of the genre's biggest stars. Everyone from Kitty Wells and Hank Williams to Johnny Cash, Slim Whitman and Webb Pierce took a ride on the Hayride before heading out to wider acclaim. Logan even gave Elvis his first serious gig only weeks after the future King had bombed at the Grand Ole Opry. No wonder the show was known as "The Cradle to the Stars." (This personal coup also explains Logan's complaints, albeit fairly good-natured, about the Opry.) A personable guy who made many of his deals based on a handshake, Logan, writing here with former Country Rambler editor Sloan, brings anecdotal insight into the meteoric but brief stardom of Hank Williams, Elvis's beginnings and the sad tale of Johnny "The Singing Fisherman" Horton, among others. The book reads like the best country music songs, filled with just the right combination of sorrow and swing. 16 pages of b&w photos.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Kirkus Reviews
From Hank Williams to Slim Whitman to Johnny Cash to the one and only Elvis, this recollection of country music greats is a real foot-stompin treat. For nearly ten years, beginning in 1948, Horace ``Hoss'' Logan produced the Louisiana Hayride, a live, weekly country music show broadcast nationally on the CBS radio network. Logan did it all, auditioning the various performers, putting together the program, even emceeing. While talent is rarely ``discovered'' by just one person, he and the Hayride were responsible for giving numerous major country stars their first big break. This was the shows edge, its competitive niche, as it labored in the shadow of that great granddaddy of country music, the Nashville-based Grand Ole Opry: ``Never once in its long, glorious career has the Opry ever created a single star or launched a single career that I know of. The Hayride, on the other hand, created dozens of stars and launched hundreds of careers.'' The Opry of the 1950s was a hidebound, though highly successful organization. Nontraditional instruments, such as electric guitars, were verboten, and only ``classical'' country music was acceptable. No wonder that they brusquely rejected the young Elvis Presley. But like so many others, he found a welcoming home on the Hayride. After just a year of appearances, he was on the way to genre-shattering stardom. Ably assisted by Sloan, a former editor of Country Rambler magazine, Logan has put together an appealing and revealing andsince this is country musicsometimes sorrowing collection of anecdotes. He seems to have known just about everyone who was anyone. Soon after Logan left the Hayride to pursue other radio opportunities, the show collapsed, but in terms of how it has shaped country music, its legacy remains vibrant and vital, though perhaps underappreciated. Serious country-music fans will love it. (16 pages b&w photos, not seen) -- Copyright ©1998, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.