Mudcat Café message #4010066 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #166661   Message #4010066
Posted By: GUEST,Jerome Clark
23-Sep-19 - 02:16 PM
Thread Name: PBS - Ken Burns Country Music
Subject: RE: PBS - Ken Burns Country Music
Long ago, I got into folk music through Flatt & Scruggs and Johnny Cash and was familiar with honkytonk country before that. I know a fair amount about the genre from many sources. I say this as a preface to my remarks, which contrast with other contributors' here admitting their lack of knowledge of the music.

Having seen the first five episodes, I have to say the series is an improvement on what I thought it would be, namely relentless white-washing and sentimentalizing. Which is not to say there's none of that, or really, it wouldn't be Ken Burns. Perhaps understandably, he focuses on the best of a genre which overwhelmingly produced forgettable music, affirming once again the wisdom of Sturgeon's Law: 95% of everything is crap.

On the positive side Burns makes sure to give the African-American influence its full due. On the other side, he makes something of a hero of hardcore racist Faron Young by pointing to a single, though not insubstantial, noble act: befriending Charley Pride when the latter first arrived in Nashville. I've learned little that I didn't already know, but the photographs and footage have often been a revelation.

In short, the series is worth watching if you can abide Burns's characteristic pieties.