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Hillbilly Maidens, Okies, and CowgirlsWomen's Country Music, 1930-1960$
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Stephanie Vander Wel

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780252043086

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.5622/illinois/9780252043086.001.0001

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Rose Maddox

Rose Maddox

Roadhouse Singing and Hillbilly Theatrics

(p.121) 5 Rose Maddox
Hillbilly Maidens, Okies, and Cowgirls

Stephanie Vander Wel

University of Illinois Press

Chapter 5 continues to explore the themes of theatricality and vocal performance in California country music by focusing on Rose Maddox as a member of her family band and as a solo recording artist during the 1940s and 1950s. In her farcical and striking covers of country songs, Maddox drew on a range of vocal styles, including a belting vocality that incorporated southern idioms, appreciated by her audience of Okies. Her various vocal approaches re-created the carnivalesque revelry of the roadhouse and helped to shape narratives that underscored the shifts in marriage and autonomy for Okie women after World War II. Because of the expressive power of her voice and her dynamic, fluid stage persona, Maddox helped carve out performance spaces for female artists such as Jean Shepard in 1950s honky-tonk and rockabilly artists like Wanda Jackson.

Keywords:   Rose Maddox, Jean Shepard, Wanda Jackson, dance hall, Okie, World War II, western swing, belting vocality, honky-tonk

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