Cocaine & Rhinestones: The History of Country Music

Cocaine & Rhinestones: The History of Country Music

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Episodes

July 27, 2021 121 min

Some of the best songs you've ever heard were written by Dallas Frazier. Don't recognize the name? Don't worry. You'll remember it forever after this episode, especially those of you who love Charley Pride, Elvis Presley, Merle Haggard, Connie Smith, Charlie Rich, George Jones, The Oak Ridge Boys, Emmylou Harris, Gene Watson, Tanya Tucker, Bobby Bare, Stoney Edwards, The Beach Boys, Tom Jones, Kenny Rogers, Willie N...

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This whole story began with a pinball machine and jukebox mogul in Texas jumping over to the independent record business of the 1950s. When he hitched his wagon to a Singing Marine who became the Greatest Country Singer Ever, it served Pappy Daily well through the following decade. Then, out of nowhere, the ride suddenly ended. "What went wrong?" is the obvious question to ask, here, but it's not the right one. We need ...

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In the early 1960s, George Jones had a huge hit record featuring such a phenomenal vocal performance it instantly turned him into a living legend. He didn't handle it well.

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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 playi...

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June 1, 2021 101 min

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 th...

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May 18, 2021 142 min

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...

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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 ...

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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. Whe...

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April 7, 2021 2 min

Cocaine & Rhinestones Season 2 begins on April 20th.

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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...
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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 t...
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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 them...
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January 9, 2018 119 min
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...
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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 innovat...
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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 a...
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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...
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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...
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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 ...
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November 28, 2017 99 min
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 fi...
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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 ...
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