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Can they cover Jimmie Rodgers ? Blue Yodel No.3

7 June 2009

Blue Yodel No.3 wasn’t covered a lot. Here are four versions:

The first one, Blue Yodel No.4, recorded by Bill Monroe in 1946, is in fact Blue Yodel No.3. I don’t know where the confusion comes from but it contains stratospheric yodeling ! In his repertoire, the blue yodels were recorded only as a pretext to yodel, so the numbers and lyrics were probably mixed up because of that.

Jack Guthrie, the cousin of Woody Guthrie, recorded Blue Yodel #3 in 1946. His version contains different lines but it still is an excellent song where you feel a certain western swing influence in the instrumentation. He made lots of covers of Jimmie Rodgers, it was his singing idol and he was known as “Oklahoma’s Yodeling Cowboy”. There certainly will be a full post about him, one day…

The Country Gentlemen made a bluegrass version in 1964 but it is a strange one. It contains great yodels and the last yodel of the song is more like the one in Muleskinner Blues (Blue Yodel No.8). It was recorded for their second disc for Mercury but because of contractual misunderstanding it was only released in 1990.

A very fresh and energetic version is the one by the Johnson Mountain Boys recorded live at the Birchmere (Virginia) in 1983, with really high notes in the yodel. This bluegrass group plays the classic music of Bill Monroe or the Stanley Brothers but with a modern feel, with their individuality, fast and furious at a time where most of the bluegrass group were playing a kind of fusion.

Bill Monroe – Blue Yodel No.4 (on different cd’s)

Jack Guthrie – Blue Yodel #3 (Evening sun yodel) (on this cd)

The Country Gentlemen – Blue Yodel #3 (She’s long, she’s tall) (on this cd)

The Johnson Mountain Boys – Blue Yodel #3 (on this cd)

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4 comments

  1. I really enjoyed the Jack Guthrie. I sometimes wish I was more catholic in my taste, but I really like American roots music. Thanks again for the yodeling education.


  2. I’m happy you liked it !
    Thanks for your fidelity even if I don’t write every week anymore.


  3. I’m subscribed to your RSS feed, so I am notified when you post something new. I really am enjoying learning more about yodeling. I am reading a book about The Carter Family, “Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone?” There’s some mention of yodeling, but no explanation of how yodeling found it’s way into the mountains of rural Virginia. I suppose I need to follow your lead and read Bart Plantenga’s books. Thanks again.


  4. Yes ! You should read Bart Plantenga’s book ! It is the “yodel bible” ! And I’ll talk about it some time…



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