Country, Bluegrass, and Flour
I always thought it was a fun thing that Flatt and Scruggs were sponsored (for decades) by Martha White flour.
I’ve always wanted to be sponsored by a barbeque sauce, me.
They wrote and performed a little ditty as part of that sponsorship. I’d love to see the contract they signed, just to see what kinda money and responsibility it entailed. I bet it was worded all old-timey.
For the finest biscuts, cakes and pies
Get Martha White self-risin flour
The one all-purpose flour
Martha White self-risin flour’s got hot rise
The band Hot Rize I just assumed was based on those lyrics, although I have no idea if they were also sponsored by Martha White or just thought it was funny.
I was watching the country music Ken Burns thing, and saw that Jimmie Rogers was also sponsored by a flour company.
While I was trying to find a source easier to link to, I found Ernest Tubbs was also. The book The First Generation of Country Music Stars says:
His radio gig in Forth Worth eventually lead to his sponsorship of Universal Mills makers of Gold Chain Flour.
Another early country star (perhaps the early country star) Hank Williams was sponsored by Mother’s Best flour:
Even Hank Williams had a corporate sugar daddy — or more accurately a flour daddy — in a Decatur, Alabama, mill called Mother’s Best Flour Company. In 1951, the company sponsored a weekday morning at WSM in Nashville starring Hank and his Drifting Cowboys. More than 15 hours of these shows are available on a 15-CD box set called The Complete Mother’s Best Collection
While I was thinking about how weird all this is, I remember I’d seen Rhonda Vincent and the Rage’s tour bus one time and it also has a flour sponsor. Back to Martha White this time, who must still benefit from that bluegrass connection.
I’m sure I’m far from the first person to realize this, I’m just noticing it for the first time and thought it was weird.