Cracker

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from notes to “Hillbilly Wobble” by  Mick Kinney:

The term cracker has been around for centuries in reference to jovial storytelling or witty banter.  Shakespeare used it in that context, similar to the more modern wise cracker.  The resurrected Gaelic spelling craic meaning “fun times” is now common in hip Irish circles.

As far back as colonial times in America, cracker became a stereotype for rural white southerners.  In addition to the word’s Anglo origins, another one suggested is “So poor they had to crack their own corn,” that is, not able to afford the price of milling.

Although regarded nowadays as somewhat of a derogatory slur, Georgia was widely known, until fairly recently, as “The Cracker State.”  In a most ironic twist, before racial integration the capital city’s Negro League team was called The Atlanta Black Crackers, a spinoff of their Southern League counterpart.

During the early 20th century, quite a few musical acts went by some variant of “Georgia Crackers.”  Okeh records actually had two on their label: the Cofer Brothers, Paul and Leon, took the name for some of their cuts while Macon jazz singer, Emmett Miller, used it for his stellar studio side musicians.

Others in the hillbilly catagory include the Canova family band, “Three Georgia Crackers,” in 20’s Columbia catalogue.

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