Archive for the ‘USA’ Category

h1

The youngest yodeler of the world !?

4 January 2009

Sometimes you find yodels where you don’t expect it, sometimes it seems so strange and unbelievable… I speak here of a very young yodeler – not really a surprise, just go to youtube and you’ll find some, but in this case, it’s the name of the yodeler that came as a big surprise. And you’ll have to listen until the end of the cd to find it.

Charlie Haden

yes, the jazz musician !

And then, you read his family history and it’s not so surprising anymore:  his parents were performers of country and gospel songs, a bit like the Carter Family, who by the way were good friends. They toured in the southern states of the USA and had a radio show: the Haden Family Radio Show. Charlie began to sing with his family in 1939, when he was two years old. In this song, he even yodels ! It’s full of false notes but so touching !

Old Haden Family Show feat. 2-yr-old Cowboy Charlie (from Charlie Haden: Family & Friends – Rambling Boy)

h1

A yodeling Christmas and a happy new year !

29 December 2008

The end of the year is always a busy time, and I’m a bit late with my weekly post but I found this great song on youtube.

Here is the text that goes with it: “Santa Claus Song,” composed and recorded by George P. Watson (1871-1926) about 90 years ago, is a real HOOT….for kids AND grown-ups. Watson is credited with making the first American YODELING record, a wax cylinder in 1897. This recording, Edison Blue Amberol cylinder # 3034, is a major NOVELTY. Watson was a long-time vaudeville star who made records for virtually all the old time disc and cylinders companies. His first Victor disc—made Feb. 16, 1906—was “Hi-Le-Hi-Lo,” composed and sung by Watson. This record was ENORMOUSLY successful, to the extent that to this day, most Pennsylvania Dutchman know it. He recorded this selection for numerous companies. It’s interesting to note that because of demand, Victor had Watson re-record “Hi-Le-” electrically, on Dec. 30, 1925, a year before his death. He married Marguerite Newton, another old-time vaudevillian who made comic records around 1900. Watson’s death certificate cites his dad’s name as Philip Zint, so one can suppose Watson’s real name was GEORGE PHILIP ZINT.

I wish you all the best for the new year !


h1

They cover Jimmie Rodgers !: Blue Yodel No.II

3 November 2008

I’m a bit late this week because I spent the last days in Seville, but her I am.

After the innumerable covers of the Blue Yodel No.I, this post will be very poor in songs: I only found two other versions of Blue Yodel No.II.

The first version was recorded in March 1937 by the Rhythm Wreckers, a blues group distinguished by the presence of the vocalist, Whitey McPherson, who was 14-15 years old at the time of the recording. I first thought it was a woman singing the song ! He had an amazing voice and was influenced by Emmett Miller and Jimmie Rodgers, so it is not a suprise he sang this song.

The picture comes from a post about the group on Western Swing on 78. Whitey McPherson sits in the middle of the front row, with white shirt and white cowboy hat.

Lefty Frizzell, the honky tonk star, recorded different songs of Jimmie Rodgers in June 1951. Blue Yodel No.II is one of them but he didn’t yodel on it. He really liked playing these songs and made another session in 1953.

The Rhythm Wreckers – Blue Yodel #2 (My lovin’ gal Lucille) (found on this or this cd)

Lefty Frizzell – Blue Yodel #2 (on the Bear Family box)

h1

They yodel in the USA !: Jimmie Rodgers (III) (1928)

19 October 2008

For his third session in Camden in february 1928, Jimmie Rodgers began recording with other musicians. One of them, Ellsworth T. Cozzens, a steel guitarist of Hawaiian origin, wrote a song for Jimmie Rodgers, as did his sister-in-law, Elsie McWilliams. All songs from this session contain yodels.

Due to the popularity of the Blue Yodel, Rodgers recorded sequels, the numbers two and three. In fact, in order to increase sales, Ralph Peer decided not to give names at the songs composed by Rodgers but just number them. Lucille blues became Blue Yodel No.II and Eyes like diamonds was relabelled Blue Yodel No.3. Another classic, In the jailhouse now, comes from the same sessions. It tell the story of the prisoner who gains his liberty by playing guitar. This song, with others, helped create the public image as railroader and rambler even if he was to frail to do it in real. Brakeman’s blues, in a blue yodel vein, was quite a succes with 262.000 pieces sold.

Dear old sunny south by the sea (Rodgers – Cozzens) Ellsworth T. Cozzens on steel guitar and Julian R. Ninde on guitar, Jimmie Rodgers, vocal and ukulele

Treasures untold (Rodgers – Cozzens) Rodgers on vocal, Cozzens on steel guitar and J.R. Ninde on guitar

Blue yodel No.II (Rodgers) Rodgers on vocal and guitar, Cozzens on banjo

The sailor’s plea (McWilliams – Rogers) Rodgers on vocal and guitar, Cozzens on steel guitar and J.R. Ninde on guitar

In the jailhouse now (Rodgers) Rodgers on vocal and guitar, Cozzens on banjo

Memphis yodel (Rodgers) Rodgers on vocal and guitar

The brakeman’s blues (Rodgers) Rodgers on vocal and guitar, Cozzens on ukulele

Blue yodel No.3 (Rodgers) Rodgers on vocal and guitar

Link to part I and part II

h1

Do puppets yodel ?: the kiddie show connection

28 September 2008

You can find yodel everywhere, even in kiddie shows ! Puppets do yodel sometimes ! So here is a not so serious post.

My first find is in Sesame Street. It’s not a puppet who yodels but it’s in the show. Y is for yell, yellow and yodel, or how to learn the alphabet to the children. With kids who try to yodel and a really serious yodeler.

The Muppet Show had yodels too:

Season Three, Episode 51: Gonzo yodels Rimsky-Korsakov while riding on a motorized pogo-stick. Not really the best yodel I’ve heard but a funny one !

Or maybe this one where the Muppets yodel in chorus with Kristy Lee, an American Idol finalist (note to myself: find the yodelers in that kind of contest):

And to end this post, a great one from Kabouter Plop, the Belgian gnome who made it on WFMU with a fake phonetic translation of one of his songs. There’s no clip for the yodel song, you’ll find the mp3 after the clip. For the lyrics in dutch, you can go here. Be warned: it’s eurobeat at its best, with yodel !

Kabouter Plop – Kabouter jodel

I presume there’s a lot more puppet yodels out there, in odd languages. If you have any ideas, leave me a note !

h1

Do they yodel in the USA ? Arthur Miles (with some excursions in throat singing)

21 September 2008

Thanks to Diane for the guest post. I wasn’t in the mood (and didn’t have time) to write last week because I was busy nursing my boyfriend who was victim of a hit-and-run car accident. He’s ok now, even if he can’t move a lot around, his foot being in a cast. I think it’s a coincidence but this week’s songs are really sad though they will make you travel on the trails of the Texas cowboys and the herders of the steppes of Tuva.

Arthur Miles, a Texan cowboy, created in the 1920s a style of overtone singing, similar to the sygyt style of the steppes of Central Asia (see below). He recorded Lonely cowboy (part I and II) in Dallas around 1927 for Victor. He is the only artist I heard until now who can yodel and throat sing in the same song ! Both songs are really gloomy, and so are the yodels and throat singing. There’s not a lot of info about him but on this page, you’ll find a very interesting interview of Pat Conte (from the Secret Museum of Mankind cd’s) speaking about Arthur Miles. There’s a modern interpretation of the song by stigandr aka big bro Clifton on youtube, with the lyrics of part II.

Throat singing is a technique “in which the singer manipulates the harmonic resonances created as air travels from the lungs, past the vocal folds, and out the lips to produce a melody” (definition from wikipedia). It is mostly known from the singers of Mongolia or Tuva but it is used in all parts of the world like Sardinia, South Africa or by the Inuit people.

There were other artists who did something like overtone singing: Richard Burnett from Kentucky is one of them and you can hear it a little bit in Ladies on the Steamboat, where he plays banjo and Leonard Rutherford plays fiddle in old time style. It sounds more like “dingdongdingding” but some sources (listen to Pat Conte) say he could do the throat singing, he just never recorded it at the time. The song was issued in 1927 on Columbia. You can see them on the first picture.

To end this post, I’ll travel to the other side of the world with one of my favourite Tuva songs, Igor’s solo by Chirgilchin (on the second picture), on their Collectible album. Igor Koshkendey has mastered six different styles of throat singing, is inventing some more himself and has won the Grand Prix of the International Throat Singing Competition in 1998, 2000, and 2002. This song is very sad, just with the bayan (russian accordeon) and you feel transported far far away in the steppe when listening to it.

Arthur Miles – Lonely cowboy (Part I and Part II) (on When I Was A Cowboy, Vol. 1, Yazoo Records)

Burnett & Rutherford – Ladies on the Steamboat (on Kentucky Mountain Music, Yazoo Records or on Document Records)

Chirgilchin – Igor’s solo

h1

Do they yodel in the USA ? (or is it in China ?): Abigail Washburn

24 August 2008

Another woman, another style, another time.

Abigail Washburn is American but she has studied Chinese language and music. She integrates these influences in her music that is also inspired by the traditions of the Appalachian like old time and bluegrass. She played first in Uncle Earl, then made a solo album and is now part of the Sparrow Quartet (Béla Fleck, Casey Driessen and Ben Sollee are the other musicians). Together they made a wonderful album oscillating between american old time and chinese classical music. And she yodels ! Her yodels are completely different from the ones of Carolina Cotton, they are long and languorous, dreamy and quite celestial.

In Overture, the non-lyric vocals have a yodel style, along the sounds of the banjo that is infused with oriental style. She does it again in Great Big Wall in China, with her fragile and delicate voice. And the rest of the album is great too, it is one of my favourites for the moment ! Go buy it, you won’t regret it.

Overture

Great Big Wall in China

Link 1: Abigail Washburn’s official site, with her discography

Link 2: myspace

Link 3: review of the album

Link 4: Great Big Wall in China live