Boot Scootin’

coverThe Country Music Encyclopedia

Submitter: I work at a small academic library where we’ve been trying to weed the reference section.We found this and not only is it 40 years old, it has that 40 year old smell to it, and many of the musicians have passed away since publication even though it’s written as if everyone is alive and kicking. Gotta love the hair height and the pant suit on the covers! Wyoming’s list of country stations only includes AM stations, and the author claims that John Denver “ain’t country, baby”.

Holly: This is spectacular. The hair! The fashion! It was a great choice for libraries 40 years ago. It’s a weeder now, unless there is some sort of music history curriculum at your school. Even then, I’ll bet there are music history books that treat 1974 as history. Weed and replace! Do enjoy the truly wondrous images below, though.


back cover

country radio stations

John Denver

Jeanne Pruett

Dolly Parton


  1. This book is the same age as I am! Why does it feel like ancient history? What’s with all the hair? What’s with that lady’s outfit in the second photo, did she make it from an old quilt? 🙂

  2. Having a substantial collection of books covering various aspects of folk music and musicology, I must say that I would be turned off by a book that presented itself as an “encyclopedia” of any music genre and turned out, instead, to be a compilation of ONE person’s reviews of a bunch of music performers, with heavy emphasis on their bios and in some cases the word “I”. I fully understand that family and life experience count for an awful lot–maybe too much–in country music “cred,” and perhaps that’s why I never cottoned to “country” the way I have to contemporary and historical folk, Celtic, bluegrass, and whatnot. But call it what it is: “Melvin Shestack’s Country Music Encyclopedia”.

    And as accurate as it might still be in an ethnographic sense for describing the homogenized blend of multiple transplanted African cultures of the era being referenced, I’m just wondering how much trouble the library would get in, in some places, if it was revealed that in 2014 there was a book that still referred to “Negro songs” and “Negro styles”.

Comments are closed.