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Cocaine & Rhinestones: The History of Country Music

Music Podcasts

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Location:

United States

Description:

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Language:

English


Episodes

CR019/PH05 - Wandering Soul: George Jones, Starday Recording Artist

6/15/2021
There are some personalities who would embrace being called The Greatest Country Singer Ever or, at least, settle into the role once it became clear the brand was eternal. George Jones did not have one of those personalities. The fame and fortune generated by his talent made him want to run away, so he spent decades running... toward something even worse than what he was trying to escape. Was there ever a chance of this story playing out any differently? Probably not, no. But what in the...

Duration:01:31:51

CR018/PH04 - White Lightning

6/1/2021
In North Carolina, way back in the hills, there's a centuries-old tradition of cooking illegal liquor. Whether you feel that's right or wrong, good or bad, may be determined by any number of factors but the objective truth is moonshine whiskey greatly impacted the course of United States culture on several occasions. Ever wonder why so many people will never trust the government or politicians? Press play. Ever wonder if the "moonshine" you can now buy in liquor stores is really moonshine?...

Duration:01:40:37

CR017/PH03 - The Nashville A Team

5/18/2021
Now that we've established Owen Bradley as the single most important producer in the history of Nashville, let's take it further and acknowledge he's one of the most important figures in the history of all recorded music, even if for no other reason than assembling the first group of musicians to become known as the Nashville A-Team. Were we to erase their work from existence, every book about pop, rock or country music in the second half of the 20th century would need to be entirely...

Duration:02:18:05

CR016/PH02 – Owen Bradley's Nashville Sound

5/4/2021
What if the first serious books about country music contained a few massive errors which were then repeated by nearly everyone who's since used those books as a source? How long do you think it would take for society to build a fundamentally flawed history of an entire genre on top of such a foundation? Fifty years? Well, that's exactly what happened... Owen Bradley's name means nothing to many country music fans. Some recognize it from the album credits of a few of their favorite country...

Duration:02:18:43

CR015/PH01 - Starday Records: The Anti-Nashville Sound

4/20/2021
The story of a little independent record label in Texas becoming "a force" in the Nashville country music industry brings an outsider's perspective to the anatomy of a machine. Going from backwoods honky tonks and roadhouse jukeboxes to stretch limos and private planes takes a lot of crooked deals and shameless hustle. When confronted by a powerful enemy, you'll do whatever it takes to survive the rock and roll. When the whole world acquires a taste for your strain of Kentucky bluegrass,...

Duration:02:13:15

Season 2 Announcement

4/7/2021
Cocaine & Rhinestones Season 2 begins on April 20th.

Duration:00:02:04

BONUS: Cocaine & Rhinestones Season 1 Q&A

2/6/2018
You might think, "How could anyone finish a season of a podcast like Cocaine & Rhinestones and have questions? That guy saturates every episode with details like he's getting paid by the fact." There's always more to know. Like, how does one even go about making a podcast on such a huge subject as the history of country music? Whose "fault" is pop country, really? Is this Merle Haggard song communist? Is that Merle Haggard song racist? There had to be more men banned from country radio,...

Duration:01:22:16

CR014 - Ralph Mooney: The Sound of Country Music

1/23/2018
The legendary pedal steel guitarist, Ralph Mooney, deserves the reputation he earned on his instrument. However, he deserves a lot more than that. This episode of the podcast backtracks to Bakersfield for a deeper examination of its "sound," a closer look at some people responsible for it and the story of a man whose story isn't told nearly often enough. It would be unacceptable to end the first season of a podcast on the history of country music without dedicating an episode to Ralph...

Duration:01:25:35

CR013 - Rusty & Doug Kershaw: The Cajun Way

1/16/2018
Rusty & Doug come from a long tradition of surviving against the odds, against a world that would just as soon see you dead as see you succeed. Starting from nothing but a houseboat in Louisiana, they fought their way through an unscrupulous industry, through honky tonk stages screened off with chicken wire, onto the biggest stages in the business, in order to create some of the greatest music ever made. Then, they battled themselves, their past and their addictions. This episode is...

Duration:02:01:06

CR012 - Wynonna

1/9/2018
Some people think we have all these "authenticity tests" in country music. We don't. But, even if we did, Wynonna would pass them. From somehow surviving a childhood full of several types of abuse to a years-long reign over country music radio with her mother in The Judds, this path was not easy to travel and the end of it is only the beginning of another, much more treacherous road. This episode is recommended for fans of: Harlan Howard, Merle Haggard, Charley Pride, Asleep at the Wheel,...

Duration:01:57:13

CR011 - Don Rich & Buck Owens, Part 2: Together Again

1/2/2018
Words often fail to express the connection that can exist between two people. In the friendship of Don Rich and Buck Owens, our notions of reality itself may prove inadequate. With spacetime as our stage, we trip backwards for more tour shenanigans, supernatural mysteries and, as always, great music. Our narrative pays special attention to the Carnegie Hall Concert album, what Hee Haw did for country music on television and innovations that Don Rich and Buck Owens brought to country music....

Duration:01:58:36

CR010 - Buck Owens & Don Rich, Part 1: Open Up Your Heart

12/26/2017
Whatever else is true about Buck Owens (and some of it certainly is), he brought real country music to the world in a time when we desperately needed someone to do that. Sticking to that real deal honky tonk sound from Bakersfield made him a very famous man. Shrewd business practices made him a very rich man. Both of these things made him more than a few enemies. However, all you need to take on the whole world is one true friend and Buck Owens had that friend in Don Rich, his guitarist and...

Duration:01:31:32

CR009 - Harper Valley PTA, Part 3: Tom T. Hall

12/19/2017
Behind any story worth telling, you'll always find another story. Maybe if we can get behind some of Tom T. Hall's best stories, we'll find the story about who he is and how he's able to do what he can do with the English language. Probably not but, worst case scenario, it will be an incredibly entertaining waste of time. Beginning with a condensed history of country music radio, we follow Tom T. from his early days as a young DJ into a seemingly effortless realization of his destiny to...

Duration:01:32:24

CR008 - Harper Valley PTA, Part 2: Jeannie C. Riley

12/12/2017
Jeannie C. Riley's debut single sold over a million copies within ten days of being released but she never wanted to record the song. In the late '60s, Jeannie C. Riley became country music's most blatant sex symbol to date but she never wanted to wear those clothes. Small town girl with big dreams goes to the city and lets it break her in order to make her. Total cliche, right? Sure. Except Jeannie's choice to bury the story in lie after lie turns it into a mystery tale of obscured...

Duration:01:15:10

CR007 - Harper Valley PTA, Part 1: Shelby S. Singleton

12/5/2017
You think all it takes to make a hit record is to find a good song and get a good performance of it? That's cute. Have a seat and let an old-school record man show you how it's done. This is Shelby Singleton. When it took driving a trunk full of records around the country to make them into hits, that's what he did. Then he became a producer. Then he became a VP at Mercury Records. Then he founded an independent musical empire in Nashville and really got to work making new enemies. This...

Duration:01:11:03

CR006 - The Louvin Brothers: Running Wild

11/28/2017
The way Charlie and Ira Louvin could sing together is downright otherworldly. There's even a special term we had to invent for family (it's always/only family) who can sing this way: blood harmony. This episode delves in to exactly what blood harmony is and how the magic of it can't save you from beating the living hell out of each other at every opportunity. Here is the story of two dirt-poor brothers who fought for fifteen years to achieve their lifelong dream and what happened after that....

Duration:01:37:16

CR005 - Breaking Down Merle Haggard's "Okie from Muskogee"

11/21/2017
The song was just what so many Americans needed at the time, in 1969. Conservatives needed someone to stand up and defend small town, traditional values. Politicians needed someone to justify America's continuing involvement in the Vietnam War. Oklahomans needed someone to redeem the meaning of the word "okie," a hateful slur that arose from The Great Depression. The only thing is, Merle Haggard wasn't doing any of those things when he wrote the song. Then what the exact hell was he doing,...

Duration:01:04:40

CR004 - Bobbie Gentry: Exit Stage Left

11/14/2017
In 1967, Bobbie Gentry's recording of a song she wrote, called "Ode to Billie Joe," directly influenced the future of every major musical genre in America. In the early '80s, she disappeared. What happened in the decade between? Why did Bobbie Gentry vanish? Who was she, even? Since we can't ask Bobbie for answers, these are mysteries we either have to learn to live with or try to solve for ourselves. This episode of Cocaine & Rhinestones examines every little thing we know about Bobbie...

Duration:01:44:35

CR003 - The Murder Ballad of Spade Cooley

11/7/2017
Spade Cooley came to California in the early 1930s, as poor as everyone else who did the exact same thing at the exact same time. Only, Spade became a millionaire. And all he needed to accomplish that was a fiddle, a smile and a strong work ethic. If it sounds like the American Dream, stick around to hear how it became an American nightmare of substance abuse, mental illness and, eventually, sadistic torture and murder. If this episode doesn't screw you up, you're already screwed up....

Duration:01:00:15

CR002 - The Pill: Why Was Loretta Lynn Banned?

10/31/2017
This episode of Cocaine & Rhinestones briefly examines the history of contraceptive laws in America (Trigger Warning: abortion is discussed) before moving on to uncover the staggering inequality of morality applied to women in country music versus that applied to men in country music. Tyler Mahan Coe takes you on a deep dive of songs banned from radio in the United States, outlining a strong case against the country music establishment's lopsided attitude toward its artists based on their...

Duration:00:52:07