Can yodel save the world ?: “Indian love call”11 May 2008
Do yo remember the end of the Tim Burton movie Mars Attacks! ? When you see that the martians can’t stand the falsetto/yodel of the favorite song of the grandmother ? This song is Indian love call by Slim Whitman (1924- ). He also sings I’m casting my lasso towards the sky (with yodel) in the movie. He had a very laid-back, romantic singing style, a kind of fusion of country and crooner vocal style.
Slim Whitman (born Otis Dewey Whitman Jr) grew up in a Christian family, poor but loving. His father enjoyed listening to the radio, and the young Slim was exposed to the music of Gene Autry and Jimmie Rodgers, the Sons of the Pioneers and Wilf Carter. Like many others, it was Jimmie Rodgers who caused Slim to experiment with yodelling and he found out at a very early age that he could do it !
He had learned to play guitar in the Navy during the war, and was also a semi-professional baseball player. He began a musical career after the war, signed a record deal in 1949 with RCA and then in 1952 with the Imperial label, whose first major succes came with Slim Whitman: he could yodel and that was enough to sell discs ! His first Top 10 country hit was Love song of the waterfall with poweful falsetto phrase that stops just before a full yodel (the song was used in another movie with aliens: Close Encounters of the Third Kind !). But his major succes came in July 1952 with Indian love call, a song from a 1920s operetta, Rose Marie, written by Rudolph Friml with lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein and Otto Harbach. It sold a million copies and was his first release in the UK. From the same session, China doll has a superb falsetto also.
From a subsequent session, there is By the waters of the Minnetonka, that begins with a great falsetto, a bit like in Indian love call. This song is very difficult to sing but Slim Whitman did it to perfection.
And to end a real yodel: There’s a rainbow in every teardrop, one of his own compositions (probably from 1954), with an extended yodel at the end of the song.
– – May the yodel be with you – –