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Eephing (type of vocal technique or 'mouth music')

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Jim Dixon 19 Mar 09 - 02:00 PM
Rifleman (inactive) 19 Mar 09 - 02:29 PM
Amos 19 Mar 09 - 02:31 PM
catspaw49 19 Mar 09 - 02:31 PM
Desert Dancer 19 Mar 09 - 05:09 PM
Jim Dixon 20 Mar 09 - 08:12 AM
Jim Dixon 20 Mar 09 - 10:13 AM
M.Ted 20 Mar 09 - 02:22 PM
Jim Dixon 21 Mar 09 - 06:07 PM
Jim Dixon 21 Mar 09 - 06:12 PM
catspaw49 21 Mar 09 - 06:20 PM
catspaw49 21 Mar 09 - 06:42 PM
katlaughing 21 Mar 09 - 10:13 PM
Azizi 17 Sep 09 - 01:23 PM
Jim Dixon 17 Sep 09 - 09:57 PM
Azizi 17 Sep 09 - 10:20 PM
Jim Dixon 25 Sep 14 - 07:26 PM
GUEST,Michael Garber 27 Sep 17 - 11:33 AM
meself 27 Sep 17 - 12:48 PM
GUEST,Mark Bluemel 28 Sep 17 - 07:39 AM
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Subject: Eephing
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 19 Mar 09 - 02:00 PM

Eephing is an old-time country style of vocal percussion somewhat similar to the recent "beatboxing" performed by hip-hop artists.

It is sometimes spelled eaphing, eefing, or eafing, but it is not related to effing or F'ing, a euphemism for f**king.

I call it percussion only because it sounds like percussion—it is much more rhythmic than melodic. It doesn't literally involve hitting anything, but it is often accompanied by truly percussive techniques like hamboning.

For a lively introduction, see "Jimmie Riddle and the Lost Art of Eephing" at National Public Radio. There are links on that page to several sound files.

See this page for lyrics of LITTLE EEEFIN' ANNIE and UNCLE EEEF as recorded by Joe Perkins, 1963—which are referred to in the NPR story—and some related photos.

Here are some examples of eephing via YouTube done by—

Jimmie Riddle (eephing) and Jackie Phelps (hamboning) on Hee Haw.

Rolf Harris.

Dave Stuckey.


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Subject: RE: Eephing
From: Rifleman (inactive)
Date: 19 Mar 09 - 02:29 PM

I believe the late and very much missed Stringbean (David Ackerman) was also a master of both eefing and hamboning


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Subject: RE: Eephing
From: Amos
Date: 19 Mar 09 - 02:31 PM

That is great stuff, Jim!! A whole little backwater of musical civilization. I like it!


A


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Subject: RE: Eephing
From: catspaw49
Date: 19 Mar 09 - 02:31 PM

I'd bet that more people were exposed to this by the Hager Twins on Hee-Haw than anywhere else..........


Spaw


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Subject: RE: Eephing
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 19 Mar 09 - 05:09 PM

Mike Seeger combines eephing with playing the quills (one-row pan pipes) on his solo album, True Vine (Rounder 40136, 2003).

~ Becky in Tucson


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Subject: RE: Eephing (type of vocal technique or 'mouth music')
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 20 Mar 09 - 08:12 AM

From Dictionary of American Regional English by Frederic Gomes Cassidy and Joan Houston Hall (Cambridge, Mass: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1985):

Eephing vbl n [Echoic] Cf hoodling, whoop B
Creating wordless vocal music made up of nonsense syllables and percussive sounds; also n eaf such music.
1971 in 1978 I'm on My Journey Home (Phonodisc) wTN, [My maternal uncle] called it hoodlin'; they call it eephin' now. He [=the uncle] got it from somebody at a dance up at Dyersburg, Tennessee. 1978 Wolfe I'm on My Journey Home 2/1, [Liner notes:] Eephing (or hoodling) is one of a number of vocal-percussive effects still found in the mid-South....[It can be]...created by tickling...[the] throat...altering...[the] mouth cavity...tapping the cheeks....It has been reported in Arkansas, Kentucky, and Mississippi....Eephing has also been found among Afro-Americans. It is customarily performed informally in relaxed social situations. 1978 Dance Shuckin' & Jivin' 323 VA [Black], Have you ever heard this thing called "The Eaf"? Ee-poop-se-de-da-pa-de-da....Well, Bill Robinson [1878-1949, also known as "Mr. Bojangles"] and I used to go around and say that thing [=a long rhyme]...And then we start singing, "Ee-doop, se-da-da-pa-de-da-pa-pop!"


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Subject: RE: Eephing (type of vocal technique or 'mouth music')
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 20 Mar 09 - 10:13 AM

From Classic Country by Charles K. Wolfe (New York: Routledge, 2001)

[Jimmie Riddle] was heard by thousands as a longtime member of Roy Acuff's Smoky Mountain Boys, and was seen by millions doing his hambone routines with Jackie Phelps on Hee Haw....

In November 1979 I interviewed Jimmie for the PBS series Southbound....
    "[Around 1936] I was playing the harmonica mostly then, but I was also doing this other crazy thing they call eephing. But the real name of that's hoodling....

    "My uncle learned that up at a dance out of Dyersburg, where somebody was doing it up on stage with the musicians. That's where he got it, and he's got to be seventy years old at least. When Uncle Ralph came to visit us in Memphis, I was just six, but I took a liking to that eephin' stuff.... When I was younger, I never heard anyone but him do that, but since then I have heard four or five different ones that can do it...."
In the 1970s Mike Seeger recorded him demonstrating eephing, and I included this tape on a collection for New World Records called I Am on My Journey Home: Vocal Styles and Resources in Folk Music. Jimmie made a few festival appearances with his famous aunt, Almeda, and left a few examples of his way with a humorous folk ballad; he also left us with examples of his uncanny helicopter imitations, his ability to thump out "William Tell Overture" on his throat, his tap dance on his teeth, his hamboning, and his general imitations. In 1970 he recorded and issued a great tour de force single for Decca, "Yakety Eeph" and "Wildwood Eeph," in which he did most of his great mouth sounds and played most of the instruments....

[Jimmie's son Steven] has already made his recording debut on a legendary LP by the Holy Modal Rounders, Good Taste Is Timeless, in which he eephs through a cut called "Living in the Country."....


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Subject: RE: Eephing (type of vocal technique or 'mouth mus
From: M.Ted
Date: 20 Mar 09 - 02:22 PM

Ukulele Ike was the first "eefer" to record, and, though he didn't originate it, is the one who named it. He said that he learned it from street singers in his home town of St. Louis--His style was more developed than Jimmy Riddle's--anyway,as one of the top selling recording artists of his time, one is inclined to think that he influenced its spread.

As an unashamed fan of "Hee Haw", I have to say that I don't remember either Stringbean or The Hagars doing either eefing or hamboning--I do remember Jimmy Riddle and Jackie Phelps' many performances very well--


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Subject: RE: Eephing (type of vocal technique or 'mouth music')
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 21 Mar 09 - 06:07 PM

M.Ted: My memory of Hee Haw, concurs with yours. However, on the theory that I had merely forgotten, or missed, other examples of eephing and hamboning on Hee Haw, I did a Google search, using the words stringbean, hambone, hagers, and eephing in various combinations and came up with nothing. (Using stringbean and hambone together did bring up lots of soup recipes, however!)


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Subject: Lyr Add: EEP, IPE, WANNA PIECE OF PIE (Fats Waller
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 21 Mar 09 - 06:12 PM

This is the song that I was reminded of when reading the thread Lyr Req: Oh my, I want a piece of pie, and which in turn inspired me to start this thread about eephing.

This is my transcription from Fats Waller and His Rhythm, on the 78-rpm record MIGHTY FINE (Razaf, Waller) b/w EEP, IPE, WANNA PIECE OF PIE (Blaine, Dann), Bluebird 10744, 1940:


EEP, IPE, WANNA PIECE OF PIE
By Jerry Blaine and Artie Dann (some sources add: Nick Catamas)
J. R. LaFleur & Son Ltd., 1940.

Eep*, ipe*, wanna piece of pie.
Eep*, ipe*, wanna bowl of soup.
Eep*, ipe*, let your tongue turn.
Eep*, ipe*, easy to learn.
Eep*, ipe*, clock is on the wall.
Eep*, ipe*, sounds like doubletalk.
Eep*, ipe*, ippy ippy way.
Eep*, wop*, wop*, wop*, you do it all day.

If your fire* on the copembagger* is worthwhile,
Then the fire* eeply*, op*, op* sets the style,
If you burrrowackasacki* and you hold real tight,
You need fop*, rop*, rop*, rop*, rop*, I guess'll do all right.
You pucker up your lips and then you hold real tight.
Let it go. It's bound to do all right.
Come on, children, one, two, three,
Together, come on, follow me:

Ah, eep*, ipe*, want a piece of pie?
Eep*, ipe*, want a bowl of soup?
A bowl of soup, bup*, bup*, bup*, piece of pie,
Sip*, sip*, sip*, sip*, sip*, sip*, yes, yes.

Aw, eep*, ipe*, wanna piece of pie?
Oop*, eep*, ipe*, wanna bowl of soup?
Eep*, ipe*, let your tongue turn.
Eep*, ipe*, eep*, easy to learn, yes,
Eep*, ipe*, clock is on the wall.
Eph*, eep*, yeah, sounds like doubletalk.
Yessiree.... [The recording I transcribed from breaks off at this point, but I don't think it's complete; it came from a "mix tape."]

[*Note: I have retained the spelling "Eep, ipe" because that is the spelling in the title, but that is only an approximation of how the words are pronounced. In fact, all the asterisked words are nonsense, and the spelling is approximate, and wherever I have used a "p" in them, Waller is more or less "blowing a raspberry." Even in the words that are intelligible English words, Waller frequently mumbles, slurs, or lisps in a manner that is surely intentional and quite unlike his other recordings, where his diction is normally clear as a bell.

[The line "if you burrrowackasacki* and you hold real tight" is apparently a reference to the song HOLD TIGHT (WANT SOME SEAFOOD, MAMA) made famous by the Andrews Sisters.]


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Subject: RE: Eephing (type of vocal technique or 'mouth music')
From: catspaw49
Date: 21 Mar 09 - 06:20 PM

Evidently I was on drugs at the time but it seems really clear to me so they must have been cheap drugs.................

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Eephing (type of vocal technique or 'mouth music')
From: catspaw49
Date: 21 Mar 09 - 06:42 PM

BTW.....I do well remember Riddle and Phelps so the drugs may have been a little better that I thought but I swear I do remember the Hagars doing it more than a couple of times.

Somebody send me some more drugs..........

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Eephing (type of vocal technique or 'mouth music')
From: katlaughing
Date: 21 Mar 09 - 10:13 PM

An eefing piece called "Swamp Root" was one of the first singles recorded and released by Sam Phillips. Singer Joe Perkins had a minor 1963 hit "Little Eeefin' Annie", (76 on the Billboard chart, featuring eefer Jimmie Riddle, whom Sharpe calls "the acknowledged master of the genre." Riddle later brought eefing to national visibility on the television series Hee Haw.

Maybe this'll jog your memory, Spawdarlin'.


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Subject: RE: Eephing (type of vocal technique or 'mouth music')
From: Azizi
Date: 17 Sep 09 - 01:23 PM

Jim, I have no idea how I missed this thread when it was first started.

I found out about this thread by reading your post about eephing ub this thread:

thread.cfm?threadid=26926
Oh my, I want a piece of pie

**

Jim, and others, I'd like to call your attention to the fact that Tiny Tim does something that I think is "eephing" towards the middle and end of this video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=skU-jBFzXl0&feature=related

Tiny Tim-"Tip-Toe Through The Tulips"

Thanks again, Jim, for your research on songs that include this vocal technique.

Azizi


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Subject: RE: Eephing (type of vocal technique or 'mouth music')
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 17 Sep 09 - 09:57 PM

No, I wouldn't call what Tiny Tim is doing "eephing" although I suppose it fits into the broader category of "oral percussive techniques."

I am reconsidering my use of the word "vocal" in previous messages in this thread. Perhaps I should have said "oral." I'd like to make this distinction: "oral" means "using the mouth" and "vocal" means "using the voice" (i.e. the vocal cords). This distinction didn't seem important to me before, but it does now.

I'm on unfamiliar ground here, trying to describe sounds that one can make with one's mouth, that don't fit the normal categories of singing or talking, so I'm sort of making up my vocabulary as I go along.

Tiny Tim seems to be making a rhythmic clucking noise with his tongue, the sort of thing that people do to imitate the clip-clop sound of horses' hooves walking on pavement. He doesn't vocalize while he does this, that is, he doesn't use his vocal cords; therefore I would call it "oral" but not "vocal."

Probably all kids know how to do this, but I have never heard anyone try to define it or describe it. Here goes: First the tongue is briefly made to adhere to the roof of the mouth by suction, and then tongue is pulled away from the roof, breaking the suction, and allowing the tongue to suddenly clap against the floor of the mouth. (Hey, if a mouth can have a roof, it can have a floor too, right?)

Now I wonder: Is this how the "click" sound is made in certain African languages? I have no idea, but it's interesting to think there might be some connection.

Anyway, eephing, as I understand it, requires at least the two vocal vowels (if that's not a redundancy) "ee" and "eye" (OK, the latter one is technically a diphthong), each one followed by a sound which is not quite a consonant (at least not one that occurs in the English language) but more like the sound we usually call "blowing a raspberry." Eephing might be more complicated than that, but I'm guessing that these are the essential characteristics, and any additional sounds are a matter of personal style.


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Subject: RE: Eephing (type of vocal technique or 'mouth music')
From: Azizi
Date: 17 Sep 09 - 10:20 PM

Jim, I hope someone knowledgeable about African click sounds can respond to the question about whether there is a connection between that an eephing as you're describing it.

I know 'beans' about African click sounds. (And yes, my use of beans was intentional to connect back with your use of 'rasberry')

**

Also, the "ub" in my previous post was not an attempt to eeph or represent an oral sound. It's just a little ole typo for "in".

Sorry 'bout that.


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Subject: RE: Eephing (type of vocal technique or 'mouth music')
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 25 Sep 14 - 07:26 PM

Uncle Dave Macon includes some eephing in the last "verse" of GOT NO SILVER NOR NO GOLD BLUES.


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Subject: RE: Eephing (type of vocal technique or 'mouth music')
From: GUEST,Michael Garber
Date: 27 Sep 17 - 11:33 AM

Thanks for all this information. I've been collecting info for twelve years about eephing, and the result is an article about to come out in American Music (academic journal), but until today I never thought to check the Mudcat Cafe site (I feel so stupid -- often!) and never noticed about the song Fats Waller recorded until I heard it on a CD a few days ago. Thanks so much for the info on that song. The article is in press, I think, so I don't think I can add a citation to this great thread.

In brief: The term "eeph" and "eephing" seems to first turn up in relation to a performance team of the 1890s, Williamson and Stone. Stone (the brother of star Fred Stone) died young; Williamson only revived his eephing briefly in 1918. But phrases relating to it, including the "gimme a piece of pie" reference, turn up in dribs and drabs through the decades. And what Jimmy Riddle calls "hoodling" also appears briefly here and there, including in the Cliff Edwards work mentioned in this string, and the "Swamp Root" recording you mention above, but also in a (very) few other places.


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Subject: RE: Eephing (type of vocal technique or 'mouth music')
From: meself
Date: 27 Sep 17 - 12:48 PM

Reminds me of Inuit throat singing.


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Subject: RE: Eephing (type of vocal technique or 'mouth music')
From: GUEST,Mark Bluemel
Date: 28 Sep 17 - 07:39 AM

Somehow this seems relevant


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