Posts Tagged ‘rock’

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Do they yodel in Belgium ?: Tjens Couter

14 December 2008

Watching a documentary about Belgian singer Arno, I discovered he could yodel ! I had to do some research to find the title of the song but I found it.

Arno Hintjens is a belgian singer who began his career in the beginning of the seventies. It is with his first group, Tjens Couter that you can hear him yodel on Honey bee. With his next group TC Matic, he made a kind of rock music mixed with blues and new wave. The group is still a reference in European rock with songs like Putain Putain (an alternative European hymn). Since 1996, he sings mostly solo an has played in different films.

He has a broken voice a bit like Tom Waits and his lyrics are written in dutch, french and english. He is also known for his covers of songs like the very touching Les filles du bord de mer (originally by Adamo).

As you hear the beginning of Honey bee, you wouln’t imagine there is a yodel in the song. It begins like a ballad, and then changes into a reggae beat where Arno tries to yodel. As he does it, you can hear is typical flemish (Ostend) accent.

Tjens Couter – Honey Bee

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Do they yodel in the USA ?: Faun Fables

3 August 2008

It’s not only in country music that you can find yodel. Other styles like rock, jazz, bues or soul include sometimes yodels in the songs. So what about the Faun Fables ? Singer Dawn McCarthy has the ability to yodel but she also experiences a lot with her voice, trying strange things, sometimes beyond reason or feasibility. Here is what her site says about her: “Dawn McCarthy is a writer, singer and theater artist whose work is a sea of gorgeous elemental nitty gritty; haunting melodies, breath, stomping, and natural theatricality led by the voice, rooted in the physical body. It is a crossroads where ancient ballad, art song, physical theater and rock music meet. Her lyrics speak to people of all ages about things like rugged housekeeping, street kids, growing old, sleepwalking and exiled travelers returning home.

And here is what she says about yodeling in an interview by Bart Plantenga: “My first inspiration was a woman ‘Liisa,’ from the old record ‘Liisa Yodels.’ … Certainly all the yodellers that’ve inspired me are of the swiss style – fast, melodic and doll-like, somehow. Can I also put in a vote here for pygmy yodelling? Which is quite a different character – almost entirely spiritual and waif sounding. Regarding other music, I am influenced by things that sound remote – growing out of some tree in a wood. Well, OK, that’s figuratively speaking – but I do love a variety of what seems to be obscure music. The melodies used in Norwegian folk music really rang true in me – they have no “scales” per se as traditional western music favors. I am biased toward any good vocal music; over the top singers, wild screamers, exacting polished singers that sound like a reed instrument…anything that guts or charms me… Brigitte Fontaine, Iva Bittova, Dimi Mint Abba, Demis Roussos, Eva Demarczek, Robin Williamson, a flamenco singer named Lole…

In Ode to rejection, the yodel sounds melancholic, eerie, mysterious but is also really melodious at the same time. Bliss is a traditional Swiss yodel song, but a strange one. Wait for a post about Erika Stucky and you’ll hear other things in the style. Mouse song is quite funny, with spoken word at the beginning and is also based on a traditional Swiss song. Honey baby blues is a traditional song that was played by Clarence Ashley or Doc Watson. It is in Appalachian old time style, with no yodel but falsetto.

Faun Fables:

Ode to rejection

Bliss

Honey baby blues (all from Early Song, recorded in 1999)

Mouse song (from Family Album, recorded in 2003)

Link 1: myspace

Link 2: Drag City

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Can they cover Jimmie Rodgers ?: Blue yodel No.1

29 June 2008

From top to bottom, left to right: Nat Shilkret and the Victor Orchestra, Merle Travis, Jim Eanes, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Half Japanese and Dwight Yoakam

Lots of singers covered Jimmie Rodgers. So here is a new serie: the blue yodel covers. I found already more than 70 versions of the 12 different songs. Some of the artists are not used to yodel, but try it anyway. Some others just don’t sing the yodel (like Lynyrd Skynyrd or blues artist Pee Wee Crayton).

Let’s begin with the beginning: the Blue Yodel No.1 or T for Texas. Here’s a selection:

Six months after the original was recorded, in 1928, there were already covers of the song. Nat Shilkret and the Victor Orchestra makes a dance band version that can be played by any urban orchestra. There’s no yodel but it is a good instrumental version.

In 1948, Merle Travis sings T for Texas in western swing style, with a nice yodel. The song was recorded for a radio show, The Country Barn Dance for KXLA Los Angeles.

Jim Eanes & His Shenandoah Valley Boys sings a classic version of song, with a stringband, in the early days of bluegrass, in 1951.

In 1957, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, the country folk singer dressed in Levis and Stetson hat was in England since two years. English audiences were interested in his renditions of Woody Guthrie but he sang also country, folk and blues from the United States. The recording of T for Texas was made on a yacht at the Isle of Wight, just with a guitar, and has a beautiful yodel, full of energy.

Half Japanese recorded a completely crazy experimental lo-fi rock version of the song in 1986, with Jad Fair an Eugene Chadbourne singing and yodelling (I don’t know who does what).

In 1997, Dwight Yoakam, modern country singer, sings it with no yodel, there’s just some slight falsetto. The song has this really slow, laid-back modern country feel.

Nat Shilkret and the Victor Orchestra – Blue yodel no.1 (T for Texas)

Merle Travis – T for Texas (Blue yodel #1)

Jim Eanes & His Shenandoah Valley Boys – Blue yodel #1

Ramblin’ Jack Elliott – T for Texas

Half Japanese – T for Texas

Dwight Yoakam – T for Texas