Posts Tagged ‘hillbilly’

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

5 July 2009

By the end of spring 1928, Jimmie Rodgers was beginning to be famous: his first big hit, Blue Yodel was heard all over the country on the radio and in the record shops. With the money he earned from this succes, he bought a new wardrobe and a blue Buick.

Having recorded all his repertoire in the first two sessions, he asked his sister-in-law Elsie McWilliams to help him compose new songs for the sessions of June 12, as he did for the previous one. She came to Washington and in one week, they had produced the nine songs that would be recorded on that date. No Blue Yodel here, but all these songs contain yodels. They are in the tradition of the vaudeville of the turn of the century, full of sentiments and melancholy. All are sung by Jimmie Rodgers who played his own guitar.

My little lady

Daddy and Home

Lullaby Yodel

You and My Old Guitar

Never No Mo’ Blues

Mississippi Moon

I’m Lonely and Blue

My Old Pal

My Little Old Home Down in New Orleans

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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