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The Country Soul of Dobie Gray

Tony Cummings, Black Music, February 1974

CAN A WHITE man sing the blues? Now there's a cliché guaranteed to remove the enamel from a purist's teeth. Would say a purist: how can white guys purporting to be blues singers who've never experienced the black lifestyle be anything other than posturing imitators, grotesque caricatures, the final ironical rip off of the black man's art? But what about black country singers? Does a black-is-best champion dismiss in similar scathing terms the work of Charlie Pride? Or should he adopt a double-standard and insist that a black man, alien to the society which evolved country and western music, is a valid performer when wearing buckskins and singing through his nose?

Total word count of piece: 1537

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