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Country Music Hall of Fame,
Class of 1962

It’s difficult for the modern-day country fan – or even one grounded in the half-century-old Nashville Sound and even older electrified honky-tonk style as I am – to appreciate the appeal and popularity of Roy Claxton Acuff back in the day. I’ve mentioned before the taunt Japanese soldiers issued to American G.I.’s in the Pacific: “To hell with FDR, to hell with Babe Ruth and to hell with Roy Acuff.”

If all you know of the King of Country Music is his work on Hee Haw, he’s worth some study. Which is what Nathan Rabin, head writer for the website A.V. Club and a hip-hop specialist, did recently as part of his “immersing himself in the canon of country music, a genre he knew little about, but was keen to explore.” Here’s his take, an urban music fan’s view of pure hillbilly, performed by the man who 17 years later would become the Hall of Fame’s first living member.

About the record: Columbia 20003 and 36586, recorded Aug. 2, 1945, at the studios of WBBM Radio in Chicago. Released the following month. First LP appearance was on Songs Of The Smokey Mountains, Columbia HL-9004, released 1949.

Roy Acuff’s Hall of Fame profile.

Next up: Tex Ritter