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Louisiana Hayride: Radio and Roots Music along the Red River Hardcover – December 9, 2004

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Editorial Reviews


"Laird's ambitious agenda is to weave a coherent narrative linking the founding of Shreveport as a city to the show's musical styles and their impact on popular music. It left me wishing for similar treatments of other cultural institutions in country music's colorful history."--Jocelyn R. Neal, The Journal of Southern History

"Laird's interdisciplinary approach, combining analysis of musical sound, social history, interviews with Hayride alumni, and a wide selection of public and private sources should be praised for its valuable contribution to both the local history of northwest Louisiana and the roots of musical change in post-war America."--Notes

"Focusing on Shreveport's Louisiana Hayride, Laird (Agnes Scott College) deftly explores the historical connections between black and white music along the Red River. Including numerous illustrations, detailed notes, a discography, and an extensive bibliography, this book will be especially useful to those interested in southern musical history and popular culture."--Choice

"Laird's book is important in that it compiles stories, interviews and other writings from myriad sources into a single handy volume which should prove valuable to any researcher on KWKH or Hayride history...Prof. Laird gets high marks for interviewing so many Hayride alumni and for pulling together a number of significant sources into one book."--The Forum

"Louisiana Hayride presents a rich trove of new information about a much neglected chapter of American music. Shreveport was an important crucible for an amazing range of music, from gospel, to blues, to country, to rock and roll. Well written, skillfully researched, full of fresh insights, this book will become essential reading for anyone interested in the development of American vernacular music. For too many years, historians have seen Shreveport as a minor league venue for American music; this book makes clear that the locale was a Big Dog in the roiling brew of southern grassroots culture, and it restores Shreveport to its rightful place in the pantheon of popular music."-- Charles Wolfe, author of A Good Natures Riot, and Classic Country

"Deploying music and radio history and cultural geography, Dr. Laird constructs a detailed and revealing account of the Louisiana Hayride from the honkytonk of Webb Pierce to the rock 'n' roll of Elvis Presley. In doing so she gives us something equally valuable: a study of Shreveport as a microcosm of change, not only in music but in the shifting landscape of race."--Tony Russell, author of Country Music Records: A Discography, 1921-1942

About the Author

Tracey E. W. Laird earned her Ph.D. from the University of Michigan and currently serves as Assistant Professor of Music at Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Georgia. She is a native of the Hayride's hometown of Shreveport, LA.

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Product Details

  • Series: American Musicspheres
  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (December 9, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195167511
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195167511
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 1.1 x 6.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,289,287 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Brad Eddings on December 3, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I can't recommend this book enough. It tells the story of a pivotal time in the development of musical history and culture, back when the participants themselves would never have guessed that they were making history. In a time before mass communication and cable TV, The Louisiana Hayride broadcast and promoted the emerging music to an audience almost nationwide. No doubt it propelled the genre and the artists toward their history making futures. The author paints a detailed picture of the genre that makes you feel as if you were there yourself. Her style of writing draws you into the story. I highly recommend this book for everyone.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Efrem Sepulveda on March 10, 2012
Format: Hardcover
KWKH today is know as "The Home of the Legends" according to its website as of 2012. Tracey Laird's book on Shreveport's music history makes a case for the radio station by giving us the background in music development along the Red River that led to the launch of the Louisiana Hayride program that broadcasted on KWKH from 1945 to its ending in 1960.

The two main points that the author makes is that the music in Shreveport was unique in that it was the crossroads for all sorts of music. Western swing from Texas in the West, honky-tonk that developed from Arkansas and Tennessee in the North and the rich Cajun style of music that came from the southern part of the state came together to provide Caddo Parish with a rich blend of music found nowhere else. The development of radio as a cheap form of entertainment during the Great Depression helped to launch the careers of many a R&B and Western star via the air waves and the idea of creating a program to air music to the masses and make their names known was only logical.

The second point of the book is that while Shreveport was a hopping place for music, KWKH and the rest of the music business in North Louisiana made several tactical errors that led its defeat to Nashville for the title of County/Western Capital. The inadequate infrastructure to hire talent, create recording studios and the lack of incentives to keep star talent like Elvis Presley in Shreveport handicapped the city that already started behind Nashville in business formation. Louisiana Hayride was in essence a victim of its own success by developing talent, yet did not have the resources to keep them there and losing them to the more famous Grand Ole Opry.
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