1-CD-Album deluxe with 72-page booklet, 26 tracks; playing time: 68:42 minutes.
The burgeoning interest in country music manifested itself in many ways. Pop A&R men scoured the hillbilly releases for songs they could cover. Twelve hundred radio stations, even in the northeast, were spinning at least two hours of country music a day, and most markets had at least one country music television show (Los Angeles led the pack with fifteen). The Grand Ole Opry concluded a deal with the Astor Hotel in New York that saw the Opry cast rotated through the hotel's prestigious ballroom. The labels and music publishers added promo men solely devoted to country music. If country music was still generally treated with condescension in the trade papers, it was earning respect for the solid sales.
By 1952, the country music industry was more-or-less centered upon Nashville. A couple of years earlier, WSM announcer David Cobb coined the phrase 'Music City USA.' "I wish I could remember the exact date, but I'm sure it was circa 1950," he recalled years later, "because we celebrated Red Foley's fortieth birthday that same year. We originated some programs for the NBC network. One of them was The Red Foley Show, and I was the announcer. One morning, I felt that my opening words would require something that placed a little more emphasis on Nashville, so it came out. 'From Music City U.S.A., Nashville, Tennessee,WSM presents The Red Foley Show.' It fell trippingly from the tongue and felt right, like a good billboard should. Right after the show I got word that [WSM manager] Jack Stapp wanted to see me in his office. When I walked in, he was beaming. 'Where did you ever get an idea like Music City U.S.A.?' He thought it was the greatest thing since George Hay had named the Grand Ole Opry." In 1951, a woman in WSM's advertising department suggested bringing all of the dee-jays around the country who spun records by Opry stars to Nashville for a celebration. Fewer than fifty came, but the event was enough of a success for it to become the annual Disc Jockey Convention, which metamorphosed into the still ongoing Country Music Week. It was a chance for the artists to thank the dee-jays and for the dee-jays to tape spots with artists that could be played on their local stations. And it cemented Nashville's position as the hub of the industry.
One country music tradition ended in 1952. On May 31, Uncle Art Satherley retired. He'd left England around 1915 and first worked in A&R in the mid-1920s. He'd joined ARC (subsequently Columbia) in 1929 and reckoned that he'd recorded 27,000 masters. Before the War, he had a personal collection of around ten thousand records that he had produced, but he'd turned them over to Columbia to be reground during the shellac shortage in 1942. "I'm the only living man who's been through this business with his hands," Satherley remarked in the 1970s. "Running the factories, making the records, finding the material, seeing the pressing's done, selling the records, and finding the artists. Always of no fixed abode, just traveling, finding country people to make these recordings." His place at Columbia was taken by his assistant, another Englishman, Don Law, who stayed at the helm until retirement in 1967. In March 1953, Spade Cooley hosted a star-studded tribute to Satherley in Hollywood that unaccountably featured mostly Capitol stars. Cooley was the only one of Satherley's acts to show up. Later that year, Satherley became a music publisher.