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Origin: Yodeling

24 May 97 - 11:10 PM (#5684)
Subject: ***Yodeling:History & Lyrics
From: Gary L...Central MN

I've always been fascinated by Yodeling, any historical info would be great..The difference between styles of Country Western & Bavarian..when do we first find yodeling etc...any trivia would be of interest. Also wold like the words to "Echoing Hills Yodel""Oh, the Echoing Hi-ills keep yodeling to me...(oh dee dil o dil dee).. (Repeat yodel with softer voice)..The singer I believe was Elton Britt..Thanks much..Gary!

24 May 97 - 11:16 PM (#5685)
Subject: RE: ***Yodeling:History & Lyrics

If my old memory banks are functioning I believe that during a Grand European tour in 1967 I heard that yodelling was originally invented as an alpine communication system by the Swiss. High pitched sounds would carry better and since words would get lost a system of coded syllables was devised. I also seem to remember hearing that the local yodelling competition (performed by local yodels?) was divided into classical and free-style sections.

All of the above may or may not be true. Confirmations anyone.

Frank Phillips

26 May 97 - 12:27 PM (#5758)
Subject: RE: ***Yodeling:History & Lyrics
From: DrWord

There's a great tradition of c&w yodelling in Canada. Look for recordings by "Yodeling Slim" Clark for tunes like: My Swiss Miss , I love to Yodel , &c. A local [to me] recording artist who is famous for his yodeling is Stew Clayton of Kalieda, Manitoba.

09 Jun 97 - 12:30 PM (#6493)
Subject: RE: ***Yodeling:History & Lyrics

"Yodeling Slim" Clark lived in Bangor, Maine, (my hometown) in the 40s and 50s. I am sure you can find many of his recordings in the library system there in Bangor. He is sorta like a folk hero there...

09 Jun 97 - 08:59 PM (#6520)
Subject: RE: ***Yodeling:History & Lyrics
From: Barry Finn

Not to long ago I had the good fortune to take in Skip Gorman, who states the same as Frank above but also refers to Hollywood yodeling, alot like we know it today, the true yodeling of the american cowboy was more closer to moan than a yodel but with the same vocal gymnastics, which would be soothing to the doggies. I later sent him a tape because of the similarities it had with the musical moanings in some of the prison hollers that were recorded in the 30's-50's. Barry

09 Jun 97 - 11:33 PM (#6529)
Subject: RE: ***Yodeling:History & Lyrics
From: Dale Rose

The Ozark Folk Center in Mountain View, Arkansas, will have their annual Tribute To Elton Britt Concerts on July 25-26. He was from this area originally. I rather imagine that if you want to hear yodeling, and lots of it, Mountain View is the place to be on that weekend!

Another Canadian yodeler worth listening to would certainly be Wilf Carter, or Montana Slim as he was usually known in the United States. He died in December, age 91. If you have access to Hank Snow's first recordings, he did a fair amount of yodeling early on in his career.

11 Jun 97 - 11:39 AM (#6626)
Subject: RE: ***Yodeling:History & Lyrics
From: dexrus

You need to listen to "Riders in the Sky" sing "The Birth of the Yodel"

23 Aug 97 - 11:25 PM (#11100)
Subject: RE: ***Yodeling:History & Lyrics
From: Gary L

Thanks to all of you who responded...had a great time with your info...I've been off internet for long time so sorry to take so long to get back to you!

25 Aug 97 - 10:42 AM (#11176)
Subject: RE: ***Yodeling:History & Lyrics
From: Jon W.

There was a form of yodeling used in the blues also. Check out Tommy Johnson on "Cool drink of water blues" and "Canned Heat Blues" and others, also Mississippi Shieks (I think) on "Stop and Listen." It seemed to be centered around Jackson, Miss. It's a long way from Alpine yodeling but not so far from the cowboy style.

25 Aug 97 - 01:50 PM (#11186)
Subject: RE: ***Yodeling:History & Lyrics
From: LaMarca

Lou and Peter Berryman (Of "A Chat With Your Mother/The "F" Word" fame) do an interesting twist on their number "Double Yodel". Where normally a male yodeller (yodellist?) would slide into falsetto for the soprano parts of a yodel, the Berrymans trade off, seamlessly, with Peter doing the low parts and Lou doing the high - it's eerie, because it COULD be just one person...Either their recording engineer is a real whiz at splicing, or their timing is impeccable; having seen them live a few times, I'm willing to believe it's not just a studio trick!

25 Aug 97 - 01:52 PM (#11188)
Subject: RE: ***Yodeling:History & Lyrics
From: Bert

Did you ever hear Charlie Drake singing "I've lost the end of my yodel"?

25 Aug 97 - 02:29 PM (#11190)
Subject: RE: ***Yodeling:History & Lyrics
From: Whippoorwill

One of my favorite yodelers was Carolina Cotton. She used to sing in some of the old "B" western movies with the Hoosier Hotshots.

Which brings up a thought that probably ought to go on another thread: Is the washboard a folk instrument?

25 Aug 97 - 03:44 PM (#11195)
Subject: RE: ***Yodeling:History & Lyrics
From: Bert

Is the washboard a folk instrument?

I would say yes, but some clown is bound to come back and say.... !!! Only if it's home made !!!

17 Sep 97 - 06:49 PM (#12437)
Subject: RE: ***Yodeling:History & Lyrics
From: Gary

I'm astounded and pleased to hear the above from all of you!...Sorry to get back to you so late..Mudcat disappeared for me until today...

16 Jan 98 - 01:11 PM (#19324)
Subject: RE: ***Yodeling:History & Lyrics
From: Barry

I brought this back up for a recent thread question. Barry

16 Jan 98 - 07:56 PM (#19347)
Subject: RE: ***Yodeling:History & Lyrics

I started a thread called "The Origin of Country Music" whithout knowing this one exists. There is some discussion there Jimmie Rodgers and Yodeling.

Let me put in a vote for Jean Shepherd in the song "Second Fiddle" as one of the most pleasant yodels to hear. It lasts for a full stanza.


16 Jan 98 - 07:59 PM (#19349)
Subject: RE: ***Yodeling:History & Lyrics
From: Barry

Murry, I saw your thread & remembered this one from the past & thought I'd bring it back up in case you'd find something here helping you on you recent thread. Barry

17 Jan 98 - 12:43 AM (#19361)
Subject: RE: ***Yodeling:History & Lyrics
From: Dale Rose A page with a lot of yodeling stuff.

If any of you have heard Grandpa Jones do T For Texas you would notice near the end of the song there is a break in his yodel, then a laugh, after which he finishes the song. Seems that was being recorded at the end of a long session, and his voice was just about gone. They quit and finished the recording the next day. Monument decided to leave in the laugh, and of course, that final yodel was done the next day.

14 Sep 98 - 12:48 AM (#38039)
Subject: RE: ***Yodeling:History & Lyrics
From: Mesquite Star Hotel & Casino

Mesquite Star Hotel & Casino in Mesquite, Nevada (an hour east of Las Vegas on the AZ,UT,NV border) is planning an Oktoberfest cowboy style with a cowboy polka and yodeling contest Saturday, October 17, 1998. Entry is FREE and there are many and merchandise....$350 first, $250 second, $150 third, $100 fourth and $50 fifth, sixth & seventh..but every pariticpant will win something.

If anyone is interested, they can contact Becky Anderson, or Lamar Owens at 702.346.1177 or email at

There will be special room rates of $29 per room (up to 4) and everyone gets a fun book with gaming, food, beverage and merchandise coupons worth about $50.

Mesquite Star is a Best Western Hotel and a full Las Vegas type casino....table games, almost 500 popular machines, sports book, keno, 2 restaurants, Shooter's Bar with live entertainment and 210 rooms and suites.

If we don't get sufficient interest from yodelers, we'll just have a party and cowboy polka contest.

Lamar Owens - Marketing

14 Sep 98 - 01:24 AM (#38041)
Subject: RE: ***Yodeling:History & Lyrics
From: BSeed

A couple of years ago the Prairie Home Companion talent contest for towns under 5000 was won by a teenaged girl whose name I didn't catch. She sang a song called "My Daddy Taught Me to Yodel," of course with lots of yodeling. She was quite a spectacular yodeler: beautiful tone, perfect pitch, rhythm, and phrasing. I'm sure it would be possible to identify her by emailing PHC. --seed

15 Sep 98 - 04:49 PM (#38221)
Subject: RE: ***Yodeling:History & Lyrics
From: Art Thieme

Cathy Fink has an instructional video available on yodeling. I believe it's on Homespun Tapes.

16 Jan 01 - 01:23 AM (#375286)
Subject: RE: ***Yodeling:History & Lyrics

Help!!! Am looking for the lyrics and/or song title for the song that had the lyrics in it of: I miss my swiss, my swiss miss misses me, and another part of it goes: Her dear papa makes watches that are swiss, I guess that's why he watches me like this, and: I hear her yodeling sweet melodies... . M y grandmother used to sing it years ago, and thought that this would be a nice present for my mother. Any help would sure be appreciated! Thankyou-DG

01 Jan 05 - 07:15 PM (#1369028)
Subject: RE: Yodeling: History & Lyrics - Echoing Hills

I would like the lyrics to the country song Echoing Hills

05 May 11 - 11:16 PM (#3148980)
Subject: Echoing Hills
From: GUEST,Don Stevens

I'm looking for the Lyrics to: Echoing Hills Yodel back To Me

06 May 11 - 12:24 AM (#3149003)
Subject: RE: Origin: Yodeling
From: Mark Ross

When Utah Phillips was at a festival in Switzerland, on the long ride up in the cable car, he asked some of the Swiss performers about the origin of the yodel. They replied (through an interpreter) that it was from "shitting in the snow."

Mark Ross

06 May 11 - 09:14 AM (#3149184)
Subject: RE: Origin: Yodeling
From: GUEST,leeneia

There's a country-western song, 'Singing Hills' that starts

Singing hills are singing tonight and echoing a song of long ago

Could that be the same one?

I found it at the Indiana U site, but they don't have the image. The song is still copyrighted.

04 Dec 13 - 04:25 PM (#3581499)
Subject: RE: Origin: Yodeling
From: GUEST,Paul Hazell

better late than never! "The Singing Hills" is something of a classic - though western style in its lyrics it was traditionally sung by balladeers with orchestral accompaniment. Slim Whitman did it as a country song around 1959 and Elton britt recorded it twice - once with a yodel.

"The Echoing Hills Yodel back To me" was written and recorded by Canada's Wilf Carter (aka Montana Slim), not Elton Britt as suggested at the beginning of this thread. Others have recorded it since but Wilf was the originator - I think back in the 30s on a Bluebird 78. Around 1965 he recorded it again in Canada for one of his "home session" LPs on RCA Camden titled "Balladeer Of the Golden West"

The general view seems to be that yodeling originated in the Alpine Mountains of Bavaria, Switzerland and Austria, although similar manifestations are noted in other cultures (e.g. the Australian "Cooee Call"). Traveling European families seem to have brought the yodel to America where it was picked up by minstrels including Jimmie Rodgers who is generally credited for introducing the yodel to country music.

Riley Puckett was however recording yodels in country songs before Rogers and Rodgers later recorded some of them. Nevertheless Rodgers had a huge influence over subsequernt performers so is usually given the lion's share of the credit. He inspired the likes of Gene Autry, Lefty Frizzell, Hank Snow, Merle Haggard and many others. Contrary to popular belief he was not the inspiration for Wilf Carter - Wilf was inspired by a minstrel - possibly a travelling Weuropean - who performed in a tent show as "The Yodelling Fool". He sang "Sleep Little One Sleep", which Wilf later covered. Interestingly, Riley Pucket recorded a version as "Sleep Baby Sleep" and this song was also one of the two songs Jimmie Rodgers auditioned with to win his contract with RCA.

The country yodel has subsequently been incorpoeated back into the European "Volksmusik" from whence it came and such masters of the art as Roland Steinel, Thomas Scholl, Franzl Lang and melanie Oesch have all sung country yodel songs.

05 Dec 13 - 03:59 AM (#3581649)
Subject: RE: Origin: Yodeling
From: GUEST,dáithí

hmmm..Frank Ifield or Ksrl Denver anyone? D

05 Dec 13 - 04:34 PM (#3581828)
Subject: RE: Origin: Yodeling
From: GUEST,Paul Hazell

there is a whole thread somewhere dealing with Slim Whitman as compared to Frank Ifield. Each admired the other but neither was inspired by the other. Rather they shared the same influences in Elton britt, Wilf Carter, Sons Of the Pioneers, etc.

Karl Denver was different. He had a musical history that combined African rhythms with country music. He was a lover of Hank Williams' music and was also influenced by Slim Whitman. He was however a balladeer with a hard, somewhat coarse falsetto but not a yodeller, unlike Whitman and Ifield who both had sweet, clear falsettos and were adept at yodelling.

Denver's voice seemed to lose the break towards the end of his career but he retained the ability to hit high notes. Personally I loved his music - he was a really charming man too. So was Slim Whitman - a real Christian gentleman with strong principles. Frank is a really great guy - not been singing for many years but still very active in the business as a mentor and talent scout.

I have recent interviews with both from my radio show and you can listen to them if you go to and put my name in the search box at the bottom right. There are 2 x 3 hour shows with Frank and one x 95 minute interview with Slim and son Byron.

02 May 23 - 07:52 AM (#4171314)
Subject: RE: Origin: Yodeling
From: GUEST,RJM Bill Haley an excellent practitioner

02 May 23 - 12:45 PM (#4171340)
Subject: RE: Origin: Yodeling
From: Georgiansilver

Loved this song by Frank Ifield... great yodelling.

04 May 23 - 02:59 PM (#4171509)
Subject: RE: Origin: Yodeling
From: leeneia

thanks. those are fun.

10 May 23 - 02:12 PM (#4171953)
Subject: RE: Origin: Yodeling
From: GUEST,Pete

A very special Yodel-Medley by an Austrian female trio

10 May 23 - 02:38 PM (#4171957)
Subject: RE: Origin: Yodeling

GOOD But I prefer Bill HALEY

12 May 23 - 02:08 PM (#4172071)
Subject: RE: Origin: Yodeling
From: leeneia

Pete, thanks so much for the remarkable performance! Those women do vocal things I have never heard before.

19 May 23 - 12:08 PM (#4172591)
Subject: RE: Origin: Yodeling
From: GUEST,Pete

Thanks, Leeneia for your compliments

21 May 23 - 02:55 PM (#4172740)
Subject: RE: Origin: Yodeling
From: NightWing

I just found the following two live recordings of Lou and Peter Berryman singing "Double Yodel" on YouTube: