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WRECK: Black & Blue Yodelers

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  • ninplant@xs4all.nl
    wReck thiS meSS ~ Radio Patapoe 97.2 ~ Amsterdam Ethno-Illogical Psycho-Radiographies: no. 280: Black & Blue Yodels streaming via internet:
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 1, 2005
      wReck thiS meSS ~ Radio Patapoe 97.2 ~ Amsterdam

      Ethno-Illogical Psycho-Radiographies: no. 280: Black & Blue Yodels

      streaming via internet:

      "I am the tallest Pygmy in this life"
      o Francis Bebey

      "I got to know blues music when I was 14 or 15 years old, mostly from
      the American Forces Network. I had a transistor radio and listened to
      it for hours at night, with the radio hidden under my pillow."
      o Wim Wenders

      "I think yodel music is gonna be the rap of the late '90sŠ"
      o Tori Spelling, of "Beverly Hills 90210" fame

      24 January 2005 / 17-19.00

      Umbo Weti > Leon Thomas [1]
      No Dog Jazz > Adrian Sherwood [2]
      The Tarzan Yell > Johnny Weismuller [3]
      Rev. Beck's Place > Francis Bebey [4]
      The Tarzan Yell > Johnny Weismuller [3]
      Masakhane > Miriam Makeba [5]
      Black Yodel No. 1 > Mike Johnson [6]
      BBC Rooftop Yodel > Serena Dankwa [7]
      Swiss Maid (Yodel Song) > Fred & Adele Astaire [8]
      Yodel Mountain > Bob Wills & Carolina Cotton [9]
      H.O.B.O. > Goebel Reeves [10]
      The Whistling Bird > Lottie Kimbrough & Winston Holmes [11]
      The Cowboy > Slim Gaillard & His Atomic Engineers [12]
      Yodeling Fiddling Blues > Mississippi Sheiks [13]
      Cool Drink of Water Blues > Tommy Johnson [14]
      T For Texas > McDonald Craig [15]
      Mule Skinner Blues > Jose Felciano [16]
      The Tarzan Yell > Johnny Weismuller [3]
      Lovesick Blues > Emmett Miller [17]
      Spaced Cowboy > Sly & the Family Stone [18]
      Potholes in my Lawn > De La Soul [19]
      Cowboys > the Fugees [20]
      Something in my Heart > Barrington Levy [21]
      Whoa Buck > C.B. "88" Cook [22]
      Anyway > Laura Love [23]
      The Tarzan Yell > Johnny Weismuller [3]
      Hum Allah > Leon Thomas & Pharoah Sanders [24]
      The Tarzan Yell > Johnny Weismuller [3]
      Cara Mia > Bobby McFerrin [25]
      Sonnymoon for Two > Eddie Harris [26]
      The Ignorant Version > Adrian Sherwood [2]
      The Cowboy > Slim Gaillard & His Atomic Engineers [12]


      "...I wandered through the lofty solitude of an upland vale in Uri.
      In broad daylight from a hanging pasture-land came shouting the
      shrill jodel of a cowherd, sent forth across the broadening valley;
      from the other side anon there answered it, athwart the monstrous
      silence, a like exultant herd-call: the echo of the towering mountain
      walls here mingled in; the brooding valley leapt into the merry lists
      of sound. Š so understands the yearning youthŠ the whistling wind,
      the howling hurricane, till over him there comes the dreamlike state
      in which the ear reveals to him the inmost essence of all his eye had
      held suspended in the cheat of scattered show, and tells him that his
      inmost being is one therewith, that only in this wise can the Essence
      of things without be learnt inŠ"
      o Richard Wagner


      [1] "Leon Thomas in Berlin" BMG/Bluebird <www.bluebirdjazz.com>
      rerelease. Excellent example of Thomas' energy, working here with
      Oliver Nelson and brilliantly yodeling his head off. Incredible
      channeling of Pygmy spirit voices that come in loud and clear over
      the transmitter implanted in the late Leon Thomas's soul. If you want
      to hear the future of vocals you're gonna have to go back to 1969
      here. The yodeling is nothing short of mind-boggling [I assume you
      still have one to boggle].

      [2] "Never Trust a Hippy" on Real World. Check this for complete AS
      <www.onusound.co.uk>. Great solo project by AS that combines world
      music with lots of trademark dub effects, industrial waste and
      inspired sample reuse including some nice S.E. Rogie and various
      Pygmy yodel sample reprocessing.

      [3] Honorary jungle comrade. Noble savage, conservationist,
      metaphorical colonialist, erotic male, Olympic champion swimmer who
      used his brother's American passport to compete for US, underwear
      model, and inventor of arguably one of the most famous yodels in the

      [4] "Lambarene Scheweitzer" on Adami. FB was one of the most
      interesting of yodelers: musicologist, poet, novelist, archivist, who
      was able to fuse ethnic African sounds with Western music before
      there even was World Music. He was one of the main inspirations for
      my yodeling book.

      [5] "A Summer with Culture" on Culture Records
      <culture.record@...> MM, a mega-star singer who crossed over
      into Western charts in the 1960s she does some yodeling here on this
      Juju-guitar tinged composition that exudes joy and triumph. This
      politically active anti-apartheid singer was introduced to Western
      audiences by Harry Belafonte.

      [6] "Mike Johnson Black Yodel No. 1" on Roughshod, 1993
      <http://hometown.aol.com/blackyodelno1/myhomepage> Altho Mike Johnson
      [b. 13 June 1946, Washington, D.C.] may be the self-declared "Country
      Music's No.1 Black Yodeler" he has some rights to that claim. He is a
      yodeler of both soul and finesse and that he is basically still
      ignored by the country bigwigs and Nashville schmaltz producers is
      probably what simultaneously saves him from drowning in pap and syrup
      but it also condemns him to a marginality that spells neglect that we
      thought the Outlaws had undone in the late 70s. Things change but
      basically stay even more the same as before. This truck drivin'
      yodelin' guitar-playin' is not only a singer and promoter of the
      oppressed in country music [basically blacks] but he has the
      evangelical zeal to prove to anyone that yodeling is more than just a
      call, gimmick, or attention-getting device. He's got the rigor, joy,
      intensity and sense of indignation to set the music on fire and let
      the yodel be heard in all its octaval richness. A man who has lived a
      rich, adventurous life that has had its fill of tragedy, one can't
      but hear that brimming in the music. He joined the Navy as a
      Cryptologist and served two tours in Vietnam including the Gulf of
      Tonkin, and it is here, ironically, that he really started playing
      guitar. "I played local bars and pubs in the area, and on a lot of
      camping trips singing to the rabbits and the squirrels and raccoons.
      Ha. The guys in the troop liked it but I really wasn't all that good.
      What really went over was that I knew the songs." The songs of Hank
      Williams, Roy Acuff, Jimmie Rodgers, Gene Autry, Johnny Cash, and,
      Roger Miller. In the Navy he met his teacher Nickki. They "hit it off
      because we both liked Hank Williams and Roger Miller and beer! Š he
      thought I had rgw 'potential to be a good hillbilly singer'.

      Mike actually wrote his first song in 1957 Š and began performing
      around the mid-60s and wrote a few tunes. Mostly it was his lyrics to
      the compositions of Roger Miller, Johnny Cash Š His interest in
      Country Music was influenced by the Western Music of the Singing
      Cowboys who ruled the Silver Screen during the 1940s and '50s. Gene
      Autry, Rex Allen, Tex Ritter, Herb Jeffries, and Roy Rogers. Camping
      took them places where the only music heard was Country. "I fell in
      love with the Steel Guitar and Fiddle kickoffs and turn-a-rounds." He
      says. "It was similar to Western Music but much more personal, deeper
      and soulful that had a way of reachin' in a grabbin' you.
      Particularly Hank's wailing tear jerkers. Roger Miller made you feel
      good about bad situations. Chris Kristofferson songs cornered your
      emotions and Johnny Cash made my blood rush. I found it! I loved it!
      And I wasn't gonna turn it loose!" He wrote JUST A NOBODY his first
      yodeling song in the early 1970s. Did his first recording sessions in
      1981 in Nashville and got some of the songs placed in several local
      DC jukeboxes.

      In 1986 Mike released "MIKE JOHNSON, BLACK YODEL NO.1." with the
      [single] I BELIEVE IN ROY ROGERS "and boy did it take off!" as he
      began selling his cassettes along his long haul trucking routes in
      truck stops "from Texas to Tennessee and the Carolinas to Chicago."
      Even though giants like Bill Monroe and Bob Ellis were singing some
      of his songs, progress was not noticeable. He emerged in 1993 with
      over 600 new songs - sometimes writing some 12 songs per day! -
      giving him a total of more than 1200 songs. He quickly went to work
      and released his fourth and final Cassette Album, BLACK YODEL NO.1,
      THE SONG, THE SONGWRITER,, which was rereleased in the early 1990s as
      a CD. It was the grueling trucking schedules that put him on the map
      and established him as a true indie self-made country singer of
      talent. In 1986 he formed Roughshod Records and You And Me Publishing
      in 1987 for his Gospel and middle of the road songs. In January 1995
      Mike created the Top-Rail Chatter, the Independent's Country Music
      Magazine to promote Traditional Country Music and Independent
      artists, writers, and performers. Mike's yodeling has that effortless
      air that seems to combine joy and tragedy, mayhem and soul and sounds
      like Jimmie Rodgers and Swiss style - plaintive, acrobatic, and
      organic [not gimmicky]. He is now known simply as "Black Yodel No.1".
      He learned to yodel from Johnny Weissmuller, "Weissmuller's Tarzan
      wasn't faithful to Burroughs original character, but his movies were
      exciting and his yell became a world-wide trademark that spawned
      millions of imitators. Including me! It was a natural high! I
      practiced it so much that my mother even threatened to send me to
      Africa! It even became my trademark for a long while. Know what that
      does in a rowdy, beer drinking bar full of drunks. So when I began
      doing the yodeling songs of Jimmie, Gene and Roy, it came kinda
      natural. Tarzan had taught me!" [Info Joe Arnold, Roughshod Records
      liner notes].

      [7] "Radio 4 World Roots" on BBC, 06.03.04. SD was my gracious and
      beautiful yodeling hostess who yodeled from the BBC rooftop and was
      heard despite urban din. We were forced by the producer to do the
      yodel book interview outdoors in winter, battling gusts and shivers.

      [8] "Fascinating Rhythm: Complete Recordings Vol. 1, 1923-1930,
      Naxos, 2000. Featuring Adele Astaire, includes: "Swiss Maid (Yodel
      Song)" [Gershwin & Gershwin], 1927, with Adele doing some intense
      compressed yodeling. Neither FA nor AA were black but he did dance
      and song routines that were influenced by black vaudevillians.
      Sometimes described as dancing like a black man.

      [9] "Westward Ho!" on Camay vinyl. Collection of cowboy standards.
      Although Wills could yodel he usually kept it to a truncated heey
      haw, leaving the yodeling to Tommy Duncan, the Girls from the Golden
      West or in this case the wonderfully gifted Carolina Cotton.

      [10] Goebel Reeves [born 1899, died 26 January 1959] was a true
      rambling rambunctious characters who acquired the nickname Texas
      Drifter. Although not at all born poor, Reeves was touched by the
      hobos and thus gave up a comfortable life for the hobo lifestyle
      turning to music after hearing vaudevillian singer-yodeler Al Wilson
      who first taught him to yodel. In 1917, he joined the army (initially
      as a bugler) and saw action in Europe, where he was wounded and upon
      return to the US became a hobo, singing on street corners. He was a
      teller of tall tales and a hellraiser who insisted that HE taught
      Jimmie Rodgers how to yodel. He made his first recordings for OKeh
      Records in San Antonio, in 1929. Penning countless songs himself
      until his death, mostly about hobo living, loneliness and having no
      family life. In 1939 he shipped out to Japan, where he worked with
      The Industrial Workers of the World. Many of his songs, especially
      "Hobo's Lullaby" (later also popularised by Woody Guthrie) have been
      recorded by countless others. His "Station HOBO Calling" is one of
      his best. Here he affects the voice of a southern black man in a
      typical blackface manner of the time who details his dislike for
      police and authority and touts a kind of idealized hobo-anarchist

      [11] Another underrated and under-documented singer,
      jack-of-all-musical-trades. Winston Holmes was one of the first black
      record label owners, a pianist of some regard, a whistler, singer,
      and a yodeler.

      [12] Gaillard should get more press and accolades than he does. This
      hipster, singer, songwriter was known for his gift of extemporaneous
      neologisms, a kind of hipster babble that put him in the realm of the
      best of the jivers - a kind of mix of scat, scatology, early
      rapsterisms, something that amuses me about Lee Scratch Perry. Babble
      that eventually goes beyond logic and gathers critical mass to become
      meaningful. Funny coincidence, I am in the early stages of
      interviewing that great band FSK who have managed to reinvent
      yodeling via reprocessed and sampled yodeling. Thomas of FSK recently
      noted in an email: "I know slim gaillard, met him in person in the
      eighties in london, interviewed him for my radio show, had him booked
      to a german jazz festival, he also plays a major role in my novel
      "hellblau'" (2001). yodel on!"

      [13] "American Yodeling: 1911-1946" on Trikont. They don't get much
      better than this. With intelligent liner notes by Christoph Wagner. A
      great introduction to early American yodeling.

      [14] Tommy Johnson [1896-1956] Mississippi singer-yodeler, one of
      thirteen children, learned to sing and play from other family members
      in this very musical family. As an alcoholic [drinking Sterno this
      his "Canned Heat Blues"] and womanizing married man, he took to
      rambling around Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi, eventually
      settled down to become a sharecropper, playing at parties on the
      weekends or on the streets of Jackson. First recorded in 1928. Known
      for his spine-tingling falsetto and eerie yodels and a sinister
      albeit manufactured persona and guitar-playing acrobatics that might
      be compared to Hendrix.

      [15] "Three Country Music Yodelers" on Roughshod
      <BlackYodelNo1@...> Includes 2 numbers each by 3 black country
      yodelers including Mike Johnson. Although Stoney Edwards was a
      formidable voice, a songwriter who had 15 Billboard singles, he
      remains relatively obscure. Could it be the combination of being a
      black country singer and the fact that he yodels? McDonald Craig's
      yodel is heavily influenced by Jimmie rodgers, who was himself very
      much influenced by black railroad workers and itinerant musicians.
      Released 4 albums on Gold Standard in the 1960s won first place at
      the 1978 Annual Jimmie Rodgers Yodeling Contest in Meridian
      Mississippi. The only black man to ever do so.

      [16] "The Voice and Guitar of Jose Feliciano" on RCA vinyl. Not black
      but singing in that idiom, as a kind of blind [slick] blues-folk
      troubadour. He is better than the cliched hit "Light My Fire" which
      made him and snuffed out any possibility for a really serious career.

      [17] "The Minstrel Man from Georgia" on Columbia 1996.
      Under-regarded blackface singer, yodeler. Lent his sinister voice to
      the benchmark version of "Lovesick Blues" which it is said Hank
      Williams used as his vocal blueprint. To read more about this
      complicated and mysterious American performer who may have even
      taught Jimmie Rodgers an octave leap or 2 read the excellent "Where
      Dead Voices Gather" by Nick Tosches.

      [18] "There's a Riot Goin' On" on Epic, 1971. That Sly to me is the
      epitome of cool is proof positive that yodeling has always been hip
      and misunderstood as was he. Perhaps the definitive musician,
      cultural icon who combined funk and psychedelia, family of man /
      black consciousness and yodeling. His was not mere ornamentation as
      he was known as a wild radio DJ who would yodel between tunes late at

      [19] "3 Feet Hi and Rising" on Tommy Boy. Barmy combination of street
      rimes, countrified nods, wacked lyrics, fun and edginess making it a
      landmark rap disc which of course includes some sampled Parliament

      [20] "The Score" on Columbia. Another landmark hiphop disc, with some
      stabs at cultural and political relevance, anger, indignation but
      without all of the annoying gangster pomposity.

      [21] "Turning Point" on Greensleeves, 1992. Used to roam the Jamaican
      hillsides as a youth, yodeling. Is known as the "Blue Mountain

      [22] "Presenting the Alan Lomax Collection" Tangle Eye Remix on CRS
      <www.continental.nl> <news@...>. This song goes a long way
      toward proving my premise that yodeling very likely came to the New
      World via the earliest slave ships. This collection once again proves
      that the recorder [white] almost always is projected as more
      important than the actual music he recorded.

      [23] "Pangaea" Nebraskan Love does a distinctive and kinetically
      rambunctious fusion of "Afro-celtic hip-alacian" music that is
      punctuated by some mighty effective yodels.

      [24] "The Best of Pharoah Sanders" on Impulse vinyl, 1972. This was
      probably the second jazz disc I bought after "Memphis Underground" by
      Herbie Mann. Still an incredible breathtaking tower of sound and
      inspiration. Includes many of Leon Thomas' longer collaborative
      pieces with PS including "Hum Allah" as a remnant of the "Back to
      Africa" movement when all good creative blacks of calibre rejected
      their slave names and adopted black names. LT wrote the lyrics to
      "Creator Has a Master Plan" as well. One of the regrets of my book on
      yodeling is not having started a year or 2 earlier so I could have
      interviewed LT before he died a kind of pauper's death in a crummy
      Bronx hospital pretty much alone.

      [25] Not exactly a yodeler but in among all his scatty
      pyro-lingual-gymnastics one senses an inadvertent yodel gesture from
      time to time.

      [26] "A Tale of Two Cities" on Hyena<www.hyenarecords.com> Eddie
      Harris became famous for doing the soundtrack to - I think - Exodus.
      This gained him the ire of his fellow serious boppers and jazz
      musicians. He never quite recovered although he was a tireless
      inventor of sounds and instruments that stretched the sound of jazz.
      He also did a healthy bit of scat that often veers off into yodeling.

      o I am currently putting together some very different collections of
      yodels for some yodel compilations. I expect them to be convincing
      evidence that yodeling is neither marginal nor trivial.

      o I am also helping in the development of 2 documentary films on
      yodeling, one by a Dutch filmmaker who made his mark with his recent
      RECORDINGS, non-nonsense stationary camera portraits of people [Dutch
      and various refugees, immigrants, etc] singing songs from their
      native cultures. He also did a wonderful portrait of the recently
      deceased illustrator Max Velthuis.

      o Further, I will be coming to the US to lecture, read from
      YODEL-AY-EE-OOOO and cause some octaval mayhem in Madison, Wis.; Ann
      Arbor; Indiana; NYC [@ KGB & BPC] and who knows where else. Each
      reading gig I do I need live epiglottally stimulated yodelers to help
      out with the yodeling gymnastic. If you are an interested in-the-area
      yodeler, please contact me.

      o Much of the info comes from my book: Yodel-Ay-Ee-Oooo: The Secret
      History of Yodeling Around the World [Routledge 2004 342p. illus.
      bibliog. index. ISBN 0-415-93990-9. $21.95]. Although the book was
      far from complete. I already have enough for a second volume
      tentatively titled YODELING IN HI FI.

      o "YODEL-AY-EE-OOOO is an amazing, wild, and wonderful book. If
      there's anything to be known about yodeling since the dawn of
      recorded time, Bart Plantenga knows it, and he knows how to write
      about it - wisely, humorously, and stylishly."
      -- Nolan Porterfield, Author of JIMMIE RODGERS: The Life and Times of
      America's Blue Yodeler

      The Wire [UK], Feb. 2004: "PlantengaŠ has compiled a book that will
      be exceedingly difficult for future yodel researchers to improve
      upon. Calling on his wide-ranging musical knowledge and extensive
      research, Plantenga has gone far beyond the usual haunts - the Swiss
      Alps, American hillbilly music, Tarzan flicks - to root out
      yodeling's origins and musical offshoots everywhere a vocal cord has
      ever vibrated, including such unlikely places as India, Brazil, and
      central Africa. Irreverent and often self-deprecatingŠ he
      nevertheless makes a powerful case for the vast (if "secret")
      influence of yodeling on a large number of the world's vocal stylesŠ
      what makes Plantenga's book a page-turner is the huge number of
      sidebars and specialised discographies sprinkled generously
      throughout the textŠ. It contains as much information as you'd expect
      in a serious scholarly study, but also reads as the work of a
      completist tracing musical family trees and sonic obscurities around
      the world; its glossaries, word games, and Eccentrics' Corners make
      it eminently skimmable."

      Yodel-Ay-Ee-Oooo is the first book to view yodeling as a global
      phenomenon. It answers the question: How did a centuries-old Alpine
      tradition make its way into American country music? Along the way,
      the reader discovers that yodeling is not just a Swiss thing:
      everyone from African Pygmies, rhinestone cow-people, avant-garde
      tonsil-twisters, and Nazi Jugend SS, to pop stars like Jewel and Sly
      & the Family Stone to Bollywood star Kishore Kumar have been known to
      yodel. We encounter legends Jimmie Rodgers and Gene Autry, whistling
      yodelers like Ronnie Ronalde, the chicken yodeling Cackle Sisters,
      the campy "Australian Queen of Yodeling" Mary Schneider, and the Topp
      Twins, a yodeling lesbian duo. Yodel-Ay-Ee-Oooo is the definitive
      deep glimpse into this secret world-one the reader will explore with
      great delight. For more info:

      o Here are just some yodels or yodelers I am looking for. I am
      willing to trade MP3s or CDs for any of the following:
      o Gesshoku (Solar Eclipse) (1993), Media Ring -- MGCD-1002 by The
      Super God Mountain Orchestra
      o "Little Old Country Boy" > Parliament
      o "Yodel reggae" Leroy Gibbs Muzik City: The Story of Trojan by
      Various Artists [bieb has it] Box.
      o "Dragostea Din Tei" sung - and yodeled - in Romanian by O-zone & Haiducii
      o Tremeloes: "Yodel Ay
      o Jimmy Rowles "The Peacocks", 1977 [73]
      o Johnny laat je jodel nog eens horen > the hilbillies
      o "Jodel-Greetje" under their pseudonyms Jantje Hendrikx [husband of
      Ria] & Ria Roda
      o Mark Murphy [jazz] > Songs for the Geese
      o Skip James > Yola my blues away
      o (Yodel Blues) They Talk A Different Language >Jo Stafford and Johnny Mercer
      o Dominican Republic, Allegro. "Yodel Merengue"
      o Sergio mendes "jodel" / SE Rogie / Olivio Santoro / Limberugse
      Zusjes / Takeo Ishi / Manke Nelis [Cornelis Pieters]

      o And during the week of Jan 24-31 this collection of BLACK & BLUE
      YODELERS [& SOME Imposters!!] was IN ROTATION during off-peak
      non-live broadcasting [only on the web - still struggling to bring
      the transmitter and antenna back into the air so we can finally fly
      our Jolly Rodger and go full tilt again.

      Pendulum WTM Intro > B/art
      Greeting > Solo Burundi Girl
      The Yodelin' Teacher > Goebel Reeves
      Whoa Buck > C.B. '88' Cook
      Mupepe > Zap Mama
      I Want To Yodel > Josephine Baker
      Jungle Roots Dub > Lee Perry & Mad Professor
      The Hip Cowboy > Slim Gaillard
      Spaced Cowboy > Sly & the Family Stone
      Cowboys > The Fugees
      Yeah, I'm A Cowboy > Mike Johnson
      Lost Lover Blues > Lottie Kimbrough & Winston Holmes
      I Asked For Water (She Gave Me Gasoline) > Howlin' Wolf
      Big Road Blues > Tommy Johnson
      Yodeling Fiddling Blues > Mississippi Sheiks
      Something in My Heart > Barrington Levy
      Anyway > Laura Love
      Yodeling Blues > Sara Martin & Eva Taylor
      billy holiday mess ID
      Jimmie Rodgers Blues > Stoney Edwards
      T - For Texas > McDonald Craig
      Worried Devil Blues > Tampa Red
      Sequence of Mebasi Yodeling > Gabon Pygmies
      Pygmy Divorce Song > Francis Bebey
      No Dog Barks > Dub Syndicate
      So Wonderfully Big WTM ID > B/art vs Black Sifichi


      Send all sound material for airplay and review to:
      Wreck This MeSS
      Radio 100 / Radio Patapoe
      bart plantenga
      Zeilstraat 23 / II
      1075 SB Amsterdam
      the Netherlands

      o Old playlists archived at <http://www.wfmu.org/~bart/
      o Selected Playlists at http://www.romanapoli.com/black/wreckthismess.html
      o outdated but something: <http://wreckthismess.com/


      CONTACT ninplant@... FOR REMOVAL

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