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Review and Commentary of The Skillet Lickers: A Study of A Hillbilly String Band & Its Repertoire By Norman Cohen

Review and Commentary of The Skillet Lickers: A Study of A Hillbilly String Band & Its Repertoire By Norman Cohen

By Dave Olson [originally written as Dave Elliott at University of Utah, circa 1990]

Prior to the time of this article’s publication, “Hillbilly Music” was not considered by many serious folklorists to be a credible avenue of research as it appeared as though it was commercialization and bastardization of traditional folk tunes. The tunes, many thought, had not been learned through word of mouth but rather written expressly for or copied, reworked and preformed for the sole intent of royalties. Cohen explains in his article that this was not always the case as many bands were merely out to share their bit and have a good time doing it. He also goes on to show the comparisons and evolutionary transitions and bridges that developed combining aspects of traditional hillbilly folk music with other styles including Tin Pan Alley, blues and jazz.

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