The Country Music Bug
By Dawn Jamison
Kickin’ Country Presenter – Irvine Beat FM
The Long Hot Summer Of 1976
My first real experience of country music was in 1976. I remember the year clearly because this was a very long hot summer, one of the driest, warmest UK summers of the 20th century.
US Country Music – Invades The UK
This was also the year US country music artists practically invaded the UK ! We had Glen Campbell, Don Williams, Dolly Parton, Kenny Rogers, Tammy Wynette, Billie Jo Spears ,Roy Orbison, John Denver, Crystal Gayle, etc all breaking through into the UK singles charts bringing their brand of music to the masses through relentless radio airplay, introducing country music to a completely new audience.
It caught on big time ! Who could forget Bellamy Brothers- Let your love Flow, The Starland Vocal Band- Afternoon Delight, Eagles – New Kid in Town and Dr Hook- If not you?
As a 13 year old teenager I was hearing this wonderful new music through my parents kitchen radio every morning but when they decided to buy albums on audio cassette for their Sanyo music centre the music continued into the weekend, there was no escape and I loved it .This is when I caught the bug for stalwarts like Glen Campbell & Don Williams amongst others.
Popularity Of Country Music In The UK
So here we are 40 years down the line and surprise surprise country music is once again seeing a spike in popularity in the UK. The advent of the annual C2C Country to Country festival with 3 simultaneous days of gigs in London, Glasgow & Dublin is a must for serious fans, we have a UK Country Chart and a growing generation of successful home grown country artists.
I was a fan in the 70,s when it was cool and a fan in subsequent years when it wasn’t cool to be country. I’ve heard all the stereotypical jokes associated with it and I don’t care , I know what I like and I’m not afraid to admit it. If only I’d known in 1976 that all these years later I’d be flying the flag for country music and trying to infect as many people as possible with the country bug on Irvine Beat FM Monday nights from 8pm.