The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #2637   Message #2593250
Posted By: Paul Hazell
20-Mar-09 - 07:52 AM
Thread Name: Lyr Req: Chime Bells (yodeling song)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Chimebells (yodeling song)
what's 12 years in the scheme of things - let's revive this one as it is an interesting song.

"Chime Bells" is usually accredited to Elton Britt as it was he who first brought the song into mainstream country music. He first recorded it in the 30s with his brother - as the Britt Brothers, then in 1939 made his first solo recording of the song shortly after signing with RCA / Bluebird. This recording had guitar backing and was the first to feature the now famous extended yodel at the end.

Britt revived the song around 1948 when he recorded it again for RCA, this time with a full band - and had a lot of success with it. He subsequently cut it again around 1956 for Walldorf Music Hall and again for ABC in 1959. Inbetween he also featured the song in two films, one of the versions also appearing on an LP on the Premier label. It was one of his show-stoppers.

However, although Britt claimed to have written the song, he seems actually to have rearranged it as I understand he learned it from the english music hall yodeller Harry Torrani, who recorded it as "Happy And Free yodel". Torrani was not the first either. Other artistes had been recording the song for years under the previous title of "Mountain High". Examples were George Van dusen and Matt Keefe. I have an even earlier recording by Daimler & Eadie of a song using the same melody and some of the yodels that Britt later incorporated into "Chime Bells". They called it "Rhythm Yodels".

Through the years many great yodellers (and many not so great) have recorded the song - mainly inspired by Britt's versioons but some - like Australia's Rex Dallas - inspired by Torrani. Artistes recording "Chime Bells" as opposed to earlier versions include Mary Schneider, Slim clark, Kenny Roberts, Terry Parker, Charles Jacobie, Donn Reynolds and Slim Whitman. Incidentally, Whitman's version was cut around 1963 but recently I have discovered an unissued recording by him dating more recently to the 70s. This previously unissued version will be released in May on a new 3CD set "The essential Slim Whitman" on the UK label EMI Gold.

For Britt and other yodelling records check out the UK-based Jasmine label on who also have Slim clark's version on one of their yodel compilations. I am not an employee but do compile albums for them. They have done a lot to preserve the yodel in country music.

Interestingly, although this is one of the world's most renowned yodel songs, Warner Mack managed to record a passable version without any yodelling at all!

I am happy to help if anyone wants to know more