White rap is a centuries-old tradition; the original white rappers were square-dance callers improvising rhymes for Saturday-night barn parties in America's rural bckwaters. Like today's rappers, they were seen as debauchers, imperiling the morals of the young. The fiddle was "the instrument of the devil"; church leaders banned it. The callers' freestyle rhymes teased with erotic innuendoes ("Duck for the oyster/Dig for the clam/Knock a hole in the old tin can").
The stuff they taught you in the grade-school gymnasium, that cornball mountain music with the do-si-dos - it was all about sex and forbidden behaviour! It was the roots of today's white rap culture. Herewith, a tribute."
Heh heh. The above is from Irwin Chusid's liner notes to this 1994 various-artists Rhino Records comp purporting to be the history of white rap. The presentation may be tongue-in-cheek, but the music is for real: an entertaining assortment of talking-blues, celebrity recitations-with-music, and oddball novelties from the 1950's to the '80s, many of which were actual hit singles. Fun stuff, from a grim Jack "Sgt. Friday" Webb attempting to be romantic, to all the country/western songs that were clearly laying the groundwork for such contemporary 'hick-hop' stars as Cowboy Troy and Colt Ford. And listening to "They're Coming to Take Me Away" again reminded me of what a truly deranged record that really was.