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22 Nov 04 - 05:23 AM (#1335082)
Subject: Yodelling
From: folk750

Does Yodelling fit into a folk sort of mould?? I know absolutely nothing about Yodelling and even the spelling is a guess, but does anybody know of any good albums for this type of music or names of Yodellers?

22 Nov 04 - 06:44 AM (#1335123)
Subject: RE: Yodelling
From: GUEST,Mingulay

No, no and no.

22 Nov 04 - 07:25 AM (#1335153)
Subject: RE: Yodelling
From: Dave Hanson

Bluegrass singers do it, check Bill Monroes version of ' Muleskinner Blues '
It is traditional in Switzerland.
Are there any Swiss Mudcatters ?


22 Nov 04 - 07:29 AM (#1335156)
Subject: RE: Yodelling
From: Splott Man

Jimmie Rodgers
Frank Ifield

22 Nov 04 - 07:48 AM (#1335167)
Subject: RE: Yodelling
From: Wilfried Schaum

It is traditional in the Alps, i. e. Bavaria, Austria, Switzerland, Southern Tyrol for singing; as means of signalling and communication you also find it with the African Pygmees, Escimoes, in China, Thailand and Cambodja, Melanesia, Spain, Sweden, Poland, and Rumania.
Characteristics: meaningless sounds, rapid change between normal voice and falsetto, broad range of tones, great intervals.
Best known German yodeller: Franzl Lang; use in American country music: Jimmy Rodgers. World record for yodelling: Canadian Don Reynolds with 7h 29'.
In the German TV you may somtimes see a Japanese guy in Bavarian clothes yodelling Bavarian style. Funny to see, but really good performance.

22 Nov 04 - 07:57 AM (#1335176)
Subject: RE: Yodelling
From: Wilfried Schaum

Some CDs:
Waltraud Schulz
World of ... Jodeln
Takeo Ischi, the Japanese in Bavaria

22 Nov 04 - 09:03 AM (#1335219)
Subject: RE: Yodelling
From: GUEST,Hootenanny

Frank Ifield a folk singer ????

There is a complete CD given over to yodelers in various styles currently available which you should be able to find at any worthwhile specialist store.
I personally would try County Sales mail order at Floyd, Virginia, they are on the web.

Someone above mentions Bill Monroe's version of Muleskinner Blues. This song of course originates from Jimmie Rodgers the singing brakeman who inserted a yodel into almost every song.

Personally although I'm guilty of the crime from time to time I agree with John Lily's song "A Little Yodel goes a Long Long Way"

Good luck and don't scare the dog.

22 Nov 04 - 09:13 AM (#1335223)
Subject: RE: Yodelling
From: RichM


scroll most of the way down, there's a list of yodelling performers you can listen to, on da 'net!

22 Nov 04 - 10:34 AM (#1335259)
Subject: RE: Yodelling
From: GUEST,honestfrankie

Yes, yes and yes! Check out Ranger Doug of Riders in the sky.

22 Nov 04 - 10:38 AM (#1335261)
Subject: RE: Yodelling
From: Steve Parkes

Hootenanny, Jimmie Rodgers made a record with the Carter Family, and managed to get a yodel into every line of the conversation too!

22 Nov 04 - 11:09 AM (#1335288)
Subject: RE: Yodelling
From: jimmyt

It is surprisingly easy, provided you know where your voice breaks, take advantage of the break, and you cannot be hesatant or passive about it. Once you get the feel and have control over the point it is kind of fun. I had to learn it for a musical play I was doing a couple years ago, and it turned out to be fun.

22 Nov 04 - 11:10 AM (#1335289)
Subject: RE: Yodelling
From: GUEST,bbc at work

Bill Staines does some wonderful yodelling.


22 Nov 04 - 12:00 PM (#1335339)
Subject: RE: Yodelling
From: punkfolkrocker

Roy Rogers

and other mid 20th Century
hollywood cowboy crooners..

well.. i enjoy it.. but the wife hates my cowboy CDs..

22 Nov 04 - 12:01 PM (#1335340)
Subject: RE: Yodelling
From: Once Famous

Yodeling was popular with old country music and cowboy music.

It is hardly used in anything any more except these old forms of music.

It seems to have a dated feel to me or make me think of Slim Whitman.

22 Nov 04 - 12:11 PM (#1335354)
Subject: RE: Yodelling
From: GLoux

A while back someone gave me a gift of "Learn to Yodel", a Homespun Tapes audio lesson (on cassettes) by Cathy Fink and Tod Whittemore. I highly recommend them if you're interested in learning how to yodel. A little bit does go a long, long way...


22 Nov 04 - 12:36 PM (#1335375)
Subject: RE: Yodelling
From: jimmyt

I spent a few days in AppenZell in northeast Switzerland,and flipping through the tv channels, I was a bit taken aback to finf three yodelling shows on at he same time. Kind of like the coverage of snooker on British TV.

22 Nov 04 - 12:48 PM (#1335390)
Subject: RE: Yodelling
From: GUEST,Jane

There's that Australian lady, Mary Schneider (possibly with German/Austrian/Swiss ancestors?) who has achieved cult status with her yodelling CDs which also feature yodelled (?) versions of famous classical pieces such as Mozart's Kleine Nachtmusik.

22 Nov 04 - 01:02 PM (#1335401)
Subject: RE: Yodelling
From: M.Ted

Yodelling is very popular in Hawaiian music, and, in fact, may have come into country music(along with the steel guitar) from Hawaiian music--seems like we had a long discussion about it a while back, complete with discussion of Hawaiian cowboys, and the fact that singing with voice breaks was actually taught in the Kamehameha School before the turn of the 2Oth Century--

22 Nov 04 - 01:06 PM (#1335406)
Subject: RE: Yodelling
From: GUEST,Arkie

Montana Slim Carter and Goebel Reeves also used the yodel in their recordings and I would think both would fit some kind of definiton of "folk". I kind of enjoy Montana Slim, but find Reeves yodels too quirky and annoying. Arkansas natives Patsy Montana and Elton Britt were well known yodelers in their day and had million selling records. Britt's million seller did not require any yodeling, however.

Has the question ever been answered as to how the yodel was transmitted from Europe to the American south and west? Or did the yodel develop independly in this hemisphere?

Yodeling did find some new life in modern country music when Leanne Rimes learned a little bit from Janet McBride and put it in her version of "Cowboy's Sweetheart". That yodeling was a bit rudimentary, but Janet, herself, is excellent at the practice of yodeling.

22 Nov 04 - 01:07 PM (#1335408)
Subject: RE: Yodelling
From: open mike

Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer have recorded a kids album which included a yodelling lesson where they show you how to uses the sounds ah ee ah ee
and then sing notes where ah is low and ee is higher...the jaw moves down and up as the notes is fun...i think the song is about a grandmother who slides down a stair railing...or a mountain! they also do trick roping
as does Sourdough Slim
you can hear him yodel his way into your heart here: He often is accompanied by the Saddle Pals when he performs. They are a hoot and would ya look at that bass viol of prairie flower's it's a beaut!

22 Nov 04 - 04:43 PM (#1335667)
Subject: RE: Yodelling
From: Eve Goldberg

I recently bought a book called "Yodel-Ay-Ee-Oooo: The Secret HItory of Yodeling Around the World" by Bart Platenga. I haven't read it yet, but here's what it says on the back:

"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 America 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, to pop starts like Jewel and Sly & the Family Stone 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 readr will explore with great delight.

So I guess I'll try and read the book and then get back to you on this one!


22 Nov 04 - 06:02 PM (#1335800)
Subject: RE: Yodelling
From: Stewie

It may be difficult to find, but there is an excellent CD of old-time performers on the German Trikont label: Various Artists 'American Yodeling 1911-1946' Trikont US-0246-2. The highlight for me is a stunning side by the DeZurich Sisters titled 'The Arizona Yodeler'. The compilation also includes Monroe's rendition of 'Mule Skinner Blues' mentioned above.


23 Nov 04 - 05:47 AM (#1336300)
Subject: RE: Yodelling
From: GUEST,Hootenanny

The Trikont disc which Stewie mentions above is the one I had in mind.
It shouldn't be too difficult to obtain. Apart from specialist dealers I have seen it in Virgin (Ex-Tower) in Piccadilly Circus so it isn't that obscure.

Re the query about yodelling getting to the US from Europe. Is this a fact? Is it not possible that it developed, from the field hollers or "arhoolies" of the black workers in the South where these calls were used as a means contact/identification between people some distance apart. I am a little unsure of this but I believe that in some parts of Africa similar means were used by forest dwellers.

Jimmie Rodgers visits the Carter Family, a prime example of a little going a long way.

Hoot (but don't yodel)

06 May 07 - 09:58 PM (#2044929)
Subject: RE: Yodelling
From: GUEST,Barry Bailey

I yodel all the time. I learned on my own listening to Elton Britt, Montana Slim ( Wilf Carter ) Slim Clark and some others. Practice is the secret. I sing and yodel in care centers and the old folks love it. Of course, I'm kind of an old folk too. 72. My license plate is YODELER and so far two different people have insisted that I yodel for them after seeing it. A couple of excellent yodeling CD's are Cowboy and Yodel Songs by Slim Clark and I'm Hittin' The Trail by Wilf Carter.

06 May 07 - 10:29 PM (#2044944)
Subject: RE: Yodelling
From: Azizi

Here's an excerpt of a post I wrote on this Mudcat thread thread.cfm?threadid=64600&messages=76

[with one correction for spelling made]

Subject: RE: Falsetto
From: Azizi - PM
Date: 05 May 07 - 08:34 PM


The connection between falsetto singing and yodeling is noted in some articles I've read. See, for example this excerpt from an online article on "The African Tradition" by Ben S. Austin:

"Yet another Africanism which deserves attention is the extensive use
of the "falsetto wail" or "falsetto leap" in which the voice was raised an octave "generally in the last syllable of a word, at the end of a line" (Russell, 1970:67). It is generally believed that this trait was preserved in the field hollers and work songs of the slavery period and found its way into the early blues form. Some scholars (Russell, 1970:67; Morthland, 1984:57) have suggested that the "blue yodel " popularized by Jimmie Rodgers and his many imitators may have been an intentional blend of Swiss yodeling and the African falsetto leap."


Finally, here's an excerpt from the article "The African Heritage of White America" by John Edward Philips, included in "Africanisms In Amrican Culture" {Joseph E. Holloway, editor; Indiana University Press, 1991}:

"Sanuel Chartiers, who went to West Africa a few years ago looking for the roots of the blues, found that traditional mountain banjo music was "certainly closer in style to African sources" than was the blues. "Sadly the era of recording began after the banjo was largely taken over by white performers", he noted. [8- Samuel Chartiers, "The Roots of the Blues: An African Search {Boston, Marion Boyars, 1981} 122, 126] But why sadly? Had the instrument not been taken up by white musicians the African musical heritage of the United States would be that much poorer. Surviving styles of Appalachian banjo music are likely the most authentically African music in the United States, but few musicologists have ever considered, much less investigated, the question of African elements in white Appalachian folk music. One of the few who have considered the question concluded that the structural characteristics of camp meeting songs showed strong black influence, presumably including African characteristics. [9-W. H. Tallmadge, "The Black In Jackson's White Spirituals," Black Perspective in Music {Fall 1981} 9 {2} 129-60]

Yodeling is known to be common in many areas of Africa in addition to being similar to the "field hollers" of African-American folk tradition. Thus we can postulate a partially African origin for Jimmie Rodgers's "blue yodel" style of singing, so important in the development of country music. Rodgers grew up where blacks were in the majority, and his singing shows profound black influences in other respects as well as his yodeling. Although some musicologists try to draw a distinction between the "true" yodel [found among whites and of European origin] and the falsetto leap [found only among blacks and from Africa], the use of falsetto leaps by such white country musicians as Jimmy Martin and of true yodels in African and among African-American singers shows that the distinction, if valid at all, is not relevant to race. [Nolan Porterfield, "Jimmie Rodger {Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1979}, mentions that many Swiss yodelers toured the United States but fails to consider whether European yodeling was influenced by contact with black yodeling. For falsetto leaps by Jimmie Martin listen to among others, "The Sunny Side of the Mountain" on the album "Will The Circle Be Unbroken?" For African-American yodeling listen to early Pharoah Sanders albums] "

06 May 07 - 10:49 PM (#2044957)
Subject: RE: Yodelling
From: GUEST,hg

Here's an interesting page:
Will Thre Be Yodeling in Heaven?

07 May 07 - 01:17 AM (#2045013)
Subject: RE: Yodelling
From: M.Ted

We've discussed here this before-- Hawaiian music, which was very popular in the first part of the twentieth century, uses falsetto leaps, and in a way that was very close to the way that it tends to be used in country/western music from the twenties, thirties, and forties.

The "Hawaiian Music Craze" swept the nation after the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition in San Francisco, and was fueled by scores of Hawaiian performers and instrumentalists who had come to the mainland after their Monarchy was overthrown. There were schools for music and dance set up all across the US, and much music was published and recorded--A lot of Hawaiian music was incorporated into American popular music--I haven't time to look things up now, but I recollect that some of the Yodelling Cowboys acknowledged listening to groups like Mme. Riviere's Hawaiians--

07 May 07 - 01:31 AM (#2045018)
Subject: RE: Yodelling
From: Ebbie

The Carolina Chocolate Drops, 2007 Alaska Folk Festival's Guest Artists, did a fascinating bit in one song. I'm not sure of its subject but it made the hair rise on my scalp when in the course of a song that Rhiannon Giddens was singing, Dom Flemons leaned over to her face and yodeled as a counterpoint to her voice. It was like wolves howling, it was like keening, although it was rich and smooth. If it isn't a mourning song it should be.

07 May 07 - 04:25 AM (#2045062)
Subject: RE: Yodelling
From: GUEST,Black Hawk unlogged

Surprised no-one has mentioned the greatest yodeller of them all - Tex Morton.
His opening yodel in his version of Big Rock Candy Mountains has to be heard to be believed.

Funnily enough, he was born in New Zealand & I have heard how there was a common ancestry between Hawaiian peoples and Maori. Maybe a link I've never thought about.

07 May 07 - 05:22 AM (#2045070)
Subject: RE: Yodelling
From: Jack Campin

There is a newish compilation "The Rough Guide to Yodel" that may be of interest.

I don't think the New Zealand connection is anywhere near as old as the common origin of the Maori and Hawaiians - American-import Hawaiian music was hugely popular in NZ in the Fifties and Sixties.

07 May 07 - 05:33 AM (#2045073)
Subject: RE: Yodelling
From: Stephen L. Rich

Yodeling is very much part of folkmusic. The United States, Canada, and Australia each have long traditions of cowboy yodelers. Australia, oddly enough, has recorded more of them than any country of which I am aware.

Stephen Lee

07 May 07 - 06:25 AM (#2045085)
Subject: RE: Yodelling
From: Fred McCormick

Check Musical Traditions

There's an article in there on the blue yodel in country music. Yodelling in country music more or less has its genesis with Jimmie Rodgers.

As far as I can remember the article says that Rodgers picked the habit up after hearing Tyrolean vaudeville troupes. However, since he used to knock around and play with Black country blues singers, I wonder if the blues falsettos he would have heard from some of them might already have attuned his ears.

Incidentally, I'm sure it's pure bunkum, but Howling Wolf, himself a great exponent of blues falsetto, claimed to have met Jimmie Rodgers in the 1920s. Yep, according to the Wolf, he was the one who taught Rodgers how to yodel.

07 May 07 - 07:14 AM (#2045102)
Subject: RE: Yodelling
From: bubblyrat

Apparently, it originated in the Alps, and was started by a young hiker . This virile young man spent the night in an Alpine lodge, where there were also several attractive ladies, relatives of the proprietor. After a number of nocturnal dalliances, the young man set off early in the morning, only to be be berated by the irate chalet-owner, who shouted across the valley " You Bastard !! You seduced all three of my daughters, and my sister ! "
Whereupon the young man turned, drew a breath, and yodelled " And your old lady too ! "

07 May 07 - 12:35 PM (#2045254)
Subject: RE: Yodelling
From: M.Ted

Jimmy Rodgers recorded his first "yodel", Blue Yodel "T "for Texas), on November 30, 1927, in Camden, N.J. He was living in North Carolina at the time. Chester Burnett( later to be Howlin' Wolfe) was only 17 at the time, and lived on the Young and Morrow plantation near Ruleville, Mississippi. His father bought him his first guitar in January, 1928.

Howlin' Wolf did know thisJimmy Rogers.

07 May 07 - 11:10 PM (#2045752)
Subject: RE: Yodelling
From: GUEST,.gargoyle

I yodel - I consider it trad. My field recordings even from as late as eary 1960 appear trad - no accompaniment....but published songs remembered from the 1930's radio.


The tech is now will soon be time to share.

08 May 07 - 12:38 AM (#2045809)
Subject: RE: Yodelling
From: GUEST,DonMeixner

I yodel when it fits the song. I yodel when it don't. I yodel when I'm driving. It definitely is Trad in the US as well as many other cultures.

Jimmy Rogers was not a great yodeler, Roy Rogers was. Bill Staines, Don Edwards, and Suzy Boggus are among the best in the US right now.

Find some very early Sons of the Pioneers recordings for great 3 part harmony yodels.

Pete Seeger, Cisco Huston, Slim Carter, Patsy Montana, all yodeled so it must be trad.


08 May 07 - 02:32 AM (#2045838)
Subject: RE: Yodelling
From: GUEST,Tunesmith

Don Meixner says that Jimmy Rogers wasn't a great yodeller; well, maybe, he wasn't a very adventurous yodeller, buy he must have had something because he inspired a whole generation of singers to start yodelling. Infact, it's not an exaggeration to say that this thread wouldn't exist if Jimmy hadn't yodelled!

08 May 07 - 03:30 AM (#2045856)
Subject: RE: Yodelling
From: GUEST,Black Hawk at work

Bubblyrat - Sorry, you have the wrong story.

It actually originated from the time a Swiss mountaineer arrived home to find his wife hastily dressing and the bed in disarray.
He ran to the door and called loudly, "Who diddled my lady".
And the answer came back, "I diddled your lady".
Then from afar came a second voice, "I diddled your lady too".

Sorry, I couldnt resist

08 May 07 - 05:08 AM (#2045910)
Subject: RE: Yodelling
From: scouse

Ramblin' Jack Elliot came to the House of a friend of mine and asked the lady of the house if she minded him wearing his Hat?? Her reply... and quote "Jack, you can do anything in this house except Yodel... 'nough said.
As Aye,

08 May 07 - 06:59 AM (#2045940)
Subject: RE: Yodelling
From: kendall

I first met Slim Clark when I was 15, and we became close friends. I used to yodel some, but never like he could so I gave it up and took up lying. He was as good as there was in his day.He left us 7 years ago and I will always miss him. His daughter, Jewell Clark is carrying on the tradition and doing a fine job too. His son, Wilf, is doing bluegrass with the Misty Mountaineers.
I met Wilf Carter, (Montana Slim) when I was about 16 at one of his performances, and at the break he allowed me to play his custom Martin guitar. What a treat!

Many years later at a festival, a boy asked if he might play my old Gibson, and I thought of that time with Wilf Carter, and said sure go ahead. He was thrilled and went around telling everyone that he had played my guitar.He played it very well too!
Funny how such small incidents stick with you.

08 May 07 - 07:27 AM (#2045961)
Subject: RE: Yodelling
From: bubblyrat

Here in England,in East Anglia , we had banjo-player and Blugrass enthusiast called Pete Sayer, who,sadly,died recently. He used to do a song, the title of which I forget, about Hobos, and " a little old shack, where you can cook and batch ", followed by a fair bit of yodelling ( of which I have always been fond ), and I recall Pete being a reasonably good yodeller !! Other than that, and of course, the excellent yodeller from Australia, Frank Ifield, who lived in the UK for a time in the 60s, Britain seems to have been something of a yodelling wilderness.

08 May 07 - 08:07 AM (#2045999)
Subject: RE: Yodelling
From: GUEST,Black Hawk working

Brian Golbey is a mighty fine yodeller (or was - havent seen him for many years). Can 'do' Jimmy Rodgers better than any I have heard.

Excellent singer, songwriter, guitarist & fiddle player.

08 May 07 - 08:58 AM (#2046046)
Subject: RE: Yodelling
From: Murray MacLeod

Must give a mention to the Chicago based duo Small Potatoes (Jacquie Manning and Rich Prezioso) who do a wonderful yodelling workshop at festivals.

They even got me yodelling (or at least attempting to ...)

08 May 07 - 09:36 AM (#2046083)
Subject: RE: Yodelling
From: DonMeixner

I did Say that Jimmie Rogers was not a great yodeler. But I would never say that his influence on American popular music was any thing less than astronomical. In what amounted to 3-4 years he created whar we now call Country and Western music. He also left an indelible mark on dixieland jazz by giving recording work to many of the early greats.

Maybe I should say that his yodels were perfect for the style he used. Simple and uncomplicated like much of the music he played. Perhaps more akin to a field holler that what we now recognize as western yodeling.


08 May 07 - 12:18 PM (#2046211)
Subject: RE: Yodelling
From: GUEST,Arkie

Jimmie Rodgers laid a foundation upon which later yodelers were able to build and he may not have done the fancy tricks of those who came after him, but he used the yodel very effectively and when I listen to his recordings today I am not left with the impression that there are others who are better at the craft.

Several fine yodelers who have not been mentioned so far are David Bradley, who does western music, Kerry Christensen, an Alpine yodeler, Teresa Endres from South Dakota, and Marge and Debbie Rhodes whose duet yodeling is reminiscent of the Cackle Sisters.

08 May 07 - 12:30 PM (#2046218)
Subject: RE: Yodelling
From: Ebbie

Something I have not often heard that fascinates me and that's two people yodelling in harmony. Why isn't it done more often?

08 May 07 - 12:59 PM (#2046239)
Subject: RE: Yodelling
From: DonMeixner

It ain't all that easy.

Listen to The Riders in the Sky and The Sons of the Pioneers.

08 May 07 - 01:19 PM (#2046256)
Subject: RE: Yodelling
From: The Sandman

Jimmie Rogers was taught to yodel by the texas drifter Goebell Reeves.

08 May 07 - 01:39 PM (#2046269)
Subject: RE: Yodelling
From: Ebbie

I'm sure it isn't easy- but it is possible to do. I would think that yodellers would set it as a goal.

What do I know! I don't yodel.

08 May 07 - 02:56 PM (#2046331)
Subject: RE: Yodelling
From: Fred McCormick

"Jimmy Rodgers recorded his first "yodel", Blue Yodel "T "for Texas), on November 30, 1927, in Camden, N.J. He was living in North Carolina at the time. Chester Burnett( later to be Howlin' Wolfe) was only 17 at the time, and lived on the Young and Morrow plantation near Ruleville, Mississippi. His father bought him his first guitar in January, 1928."

Like I said, the story is probably bunkum.

08 May 07 - 03:39 PM (#2046383)
Subject: RE: Yodelling
From: M.Ted

Bunkum is a folk art, so it's good.

09 May 07 - 08:51 PM (#2047475)
Subject: RE: Yodelling
From: GUEST,Joe Arnold, Roughshod Records

Top Rail News Flash    *   May 2007
©1995 Top Rail Chatter, P.O. Box 100933, Arlington, Va. 22210

Mike Johnson's yodel songs part of American Music History!
Janet McKee and Peter Stark of the Library of Congress watch as Mike Johnson signs his yodeling songs into American Music History.

   In March 2007 Mike Johnson of Arlington, Virginia reached one of the most important milestones of his music career. His Yodel Song Archives, and related material, are now officially a part of the Recorded Sound Reference Center's permanent collection. The Reference Center is the intake and processing part of the Library of Congress' Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division. Once processed into their database, the system is programmed to automatically transfer the works to the appropriate categories for their Reading Rooms and the Library's online website databases for public consumption.

   On the 26th of April 2007, Mike Johnson went over to the Library of Congress to sign the finalized Gift Agreement with Ms. Janet McKee, the Reference Center's Manager, and Mr. Peter Stark, the Library's Gift Coordinator. Johnson included a provision allowing to Library to make single song copies for their patrons and music researchers without having to obtain a clearance for each request.
   Johnson's works were particularly attractive because yodeling performances by African-American Yodelers are somewhat rare. Johnson has not only been a consistent Yodeler on the Independent Country Music circuit for more than 40 years, he has also written over 100 yodeling songs, a number of which have become quite popular among his following.

   While there have been scores of famous Anglo-American Country Music Yodelers, the few famous African-American Yodelers, like Charles Anderson, Monroe Tabor, Beulah Henderson, and the Mississippi Sheiks, had their heyday during the Minstrel and String Band era, roughly between 1888 and 1925. Their recordings are even more rare, most of them either lost, too fragile to play, or in the hands of tight-fisted private collectors. McDonald Craig of Linden, Tennessee, became a notable standout during the 1960s and '70s. A superb Jimmie Rodgers Yodeler who grew up in a Bluegrass-Mountain Music household is also the only Black Yodeler to ever win First Place at an annual [1978] Jimmie Rodgers Yodeling Championship held in Meridian Mississippi.
   Then Mike came along and combined the Jimmie Rodgers, Swiss, and Cowboy yodeling styles to create his own unique sound and began writing his own yodeling songs.
Copies of Mike Johnson's donated works and descriptions below.
Left to Right pictured above:
1. CD- Black Yodel No.1, The Song The Songwriter [13 songs]
2. Mike Johnson's Yodel Song Archives Vol.1 [2-discs - 64 songs]
3. CD-Mike Johnson Yodeling 40 Years [50 yodel songs]
4. Mike Johnson's Yodel Song Archives Vol.2 [2-discs -50 songs]
5. CD-Did You Hug Your Mother Today? [10 songs]
6. Stranding in the rear: Mike Johnson, The Official Short Version [46-page biography includes Mike's family and formative years, with photographs]
Not pictured above:
6. DVD- Mike Johnson Live [different performances]
7. DVD- Mike Johnson Black Yodel No.1 [yodeling performances]
8. Mike Johnson color portrait
9. 114 yodel song lyrics

   The soon to be 61-year old [June 2007] Johnson began his music journey as a boy in the 1950s when he became hooked on the music of the Singing Movie Cowboys, Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, Rex Allen and Herb Jeffries. Jeffries was the first and only African-American Singing Movie Cowboy who starred in four feature-length all-black cast western movies during the 1930s, before he made his mark with the Duke Ellington Band. Johnson imitated them and many others and around 1958 his transition to country music began when he was captivated by the sounds of a Pedal Steel Guitar coming from Mary's Blue Room one Saturday night. This little honky-tonk bar-restaurant was on Capitol Hill, in the 300 block of Pennsylvania Avenue, S.E., right next door to the famous Tune Inn. Johnson began performing in the mid-1960s and did his first Nashville recording session in 1981. Along the way he formed Pata del Lobo Music publishing, Roughshod Records, and the Top-Rail Chatter Independent's Country Music magazine. In 2002 the National Traditional Country Music Association inducted him into America's Old Time Country Music Hall of Fame.
   His yodel song "Yeah I'm A Cowboy" has appeared several times over the years and most recently on the international release "Rough Guide to Yodel" by the World Music Network in London. This 18 song compilation CD by Bart Plantenga features 18 World Famous Yodelers, including our own Mike Johnson on track 14. Plantenga is a noted Netherlands DJ, music historian, and author of the 2004 best seller, "Yodel Ay Eee Ooo The Secret History of Yodeling Around The World." He recently had a 5-page article on Mike Johnson published in the March 2007 issue of Big Mag, a Netherlands publication, and gave a yodel lecture slide show with Mike as the featured artist. Johnson is also included in his forthcoming book "Yodel In Hi-Fi."

   In the last three years Mike's Internet presence has grown considerably, in spite of the November 2003 neck injury that ended his long, interstate trucking career. Three of his neck vertebrae collapsed on his spinal cord. His first official performance following his rehabilitation was in May 2005 when he went to New York's Bowery Poetry Club to participate in Bart's yodel-book lecture with Yodelers Randy Erwin and Lynn Book. You can see Johnson on 16 of his own YouTube videos and purchase out his products at our Roughshod Records online store. DJs can download his music from the AirPlay Direct site.
   Mother's Day is next Sunday, 13 May 2007, so don't forget to say Happy Mother's Day with a song and grab a copy of Mike's 1994 Mother's Day radio hit "DID YOU HUG YOUR MOTHER TODAY?" at CD Baby.

   On a closing note, we wish to salute our legendary Bluegrass friend, Wade Mainer, who turned 100 years on the 21st. of April 2007. Mainer was very instrumental in the early stages of Bluegrass development. We here had the privilege of editing a video to DVD of Wade's birthday bash celebration at the Fenton Community Center, for our friend Virgie Warren's Bluebird Country News in Flushing, Michigan. It's an honor knowing you Wade, and we wish you 100 more!
   Adios amigos! Hope to see you down the road!

Joe Arnold, Top-Rail Editor
Courtesy of Roughshod Records

09 May 07 - 09:22 PM (#2047495)
Subject: RE: Yodelling
From: Azizi

Thanks for sharing that interesting information, Joe Arnold!

09 May 07 - 09:28 PM (#2047500)
Subject: RE: Yodelling
From: Azizi

It just occurred to me that the first yodeling I ever heard-and ever did-was the call that character Timmy [I think that was his name] did on various programs of the tv series "Lassie".

Timmy's call was something like "Ee Yaw Ee".

Does anyone else remember this? And was that boy using this sound to call his dog Lassie or to call a friend of his? Did his friend have a certain call too?

I can't remember.

09 May 07 - 10:29 PM (#2047530)
Subject: RE: Yodelling
From: GUEST,Don Meixner

I remember it as Jeff calling his friend Porky. Jeff was Tommy Rettig and it was later that Timmy played by Jon Provost came on board. The EE Yaw EE call was in the earlier shows. But I was seven then. And my memory may be not as good as I hope.


23 Jan 08 - 09:13 PM (#2243276)
Subject: RE: Yodelling
From: number 6

Here is someone you might find interesting. I do. Puts a different dimension to Swiss Yodelling.

Erika Stucky


24 Jan 08 - 02:32 PM (#2243816)
Subject: RE: Yodelling
From: topical tom

There have been many great yodelers throughout the years but, in my opinion, I have heard none better than Jimmie Rodgers.Other very good yodelers were Wilf Carter, Suzie Boggus and Pete Seeger.Roy Rogers would also be included in my list.

24 Jan 08 - 03:48 PM (#2243873)
Subject: RE: Yodelling
From: PoppaGator

Dare To Yodel!

12 Mar 09 - 05:44 PM (#2587487)
Subject: RE: Yodelling
From: GUEST,Paul Hazell

Yodelling originated in the Alpine regions of Europe - not just Switzerland - and is still performed by many artistes there today. The styles vary from region to region - generally the slow, beautiful accurate yodels are sung by the Swiss whilst the faster more spectacular yodels are found more in Bavaria in Germany. A good example of Swiss yodels is Vreni Kneubuhl, whilst Franzl Lang is the most lauded master from Munich. Peter Hinnen is a Swiss who unusually perfected speed yodelling and went on to record pop and country music with a yodel.

Travelling European families in the 1800s and early 20th century were often heard on travelling "medicine" shows in the US and it seams likely that that waswhere Jimmie Rodgers learned it. Rodgers was a black-face minstrel after leaving the railroad. Some say he learned the art from Goebel Reeves but I understand that by the time the two met, Rodgers was already yodelling.

Whilst Rodgers' yodelling was simple - he had few competitors - he influenced and inspiured many including Elton Britt and gene autry (but not Wilf "Montana Slim" Carter, who was inspired by a minstrel yodeller calling himself the "Yodelling Fool"). Rodgers yodel was crisp and clear and he was indeed a fine yodeller. Others, like Britt, took his exampoles and developed the art further.

Meanwhile in australia and new Zealand, the records of Rodgers, Gene autry and the English music hall yodeller Harry Torrani were being released and inspired thousands of kids to try to yodel. Top of the pops there was Tex Morton (Robert Lane) who inspired a whole new country music industry that still thrives today.

In England we had George van dusen, Torrani, Bert Terrell and ronnie Ronalde amongst others (Ronalde is probably also the best whistler the world has ver known). Belgium had Bobbejaan schoiepen (pronounved Bobby yarn skoopen), Holland had several yodellers including Jodel jerry, Olga Lowina and texas Kitty prins, South Africa had Charles Jacobie and Santa vorster, etc - most will testify to having been influenced by Jimmie Rodgers, Wilf carter, elton Britt or Slim Whitman.

Frank Ifield was one of the many inspired by the early scene in australia and he himself inspired many more through the years - there, in the UK and elsewhere. Mary Schneider (classically trained but probably the best yodeller in the English speaking world today) started as a hillbilly singer on Regal Zonophone 78s in the 50s but herself is idol to many youngsters today.

Perhaps most spectacular of yodel careers has been that of Slim Whitman. Virtually ignored in his homoe country of USA for years, he has sold over a hundred million records, recorded more that 50 albums, broken box office records across the world for more than 5 decades and has one of the most beautiful singing voices in country music. More people should listen before they mock - the guy's voice is amazing.

In recent years I have worked with several labels to make more yodel material available. Seek out "The Greatest Yodelling Album Of All Time" a 2CD set on the Australian Rajon label - it has 50 yodellers from around the world. Try also the UK-based Jasmine label (look them up on we have done albums on Whitman, Ifield, a tribute to Jimmie Rodgers, a 4CD set of singing cowboys, 2 CDs of Britt, one of Slim Clark and three CDs dedicated to country yodelling. There is also a CD of Frank Ifield's pre-pop Australian years with loads of yodels! I am not an employee - I just compile albums for them.

Hope this helps albeit a bit late (just stumbled on the blog). Contact me on if you want to know more.

12 Mar 09 - 06:14 PM (#2587508)
Subject: RE: Yodelling
From: GUEST,DonMeixner

I reread this entire thread so I could comment on Slim Whitman. It took to the last posting to find Slim recognized for the quality performer he was. He was a pop sensation in England but over here the butt of a lot of jokes which is way too bad. His range was almost impossible and his tonality was nearly flawless. Hard to beat.

Box Car Willie was also a pretty good yodeler. He was lining up to be taken as a joke on afternoon cable TV record offers. Then Johnny Carson had him on TV and the late night crowd learned how good he was. I believe was on the Grand Ole Opry as a semi regular before he died.

I did earlier say the Jimmie Rogers was not a great yodeler. I am not about to change my opinion on further reflection. There is nothing wrong with being a very good yodeler which he may have been. Hard to tell with the quality of recordings from 1928-1930 something. I'd settle for me being a good yodeler but, alas, I'm just OK and thats pretty good too. My distant relatives Rudi and Inga Meixner are yodelers beyond amazement as far as I'm concerned.
But thats them Tyrols for you.


12 Mar 09 - 06:29 PM (#2587524)
Subject: RE: Yodelling
From: GUEST,Paul Hazell

Just about to turn in (I'm in Saudi Arabia on business at the moment) and saw Don's new addition. I'd be interested to hear any recordings you may have Don. I am familiar with Inge and Rudi and have a couple of LPs.

I might add to my contribution above that Elton Britt and wilf carter both inspired Slim Whitman although it was hearing Jimmie Rodgers that first caused him to try yodelling. Kenny Roberts was a disciple of elton Britt and Wilf carter and a friend of Slim Clark who was one of the best speed yodellers. Slim and i used to speak on the telephone - I just wish he could have seen the Jasmine album of his work.

They say all things come around and English yodellers were inspired by the American and european yodellers. ronnie Ronalde learned direct from Swiss yodellers but was also impressed by Roy Rogers after they worked together at Radio city Music Hall. George Van Dusen told me about seeing harry Torrani on stage - Torrani was inspired by both European yodellers and the early cowboy singers. In his turn, Torrani adapted an old folk song called "Mountain High" (recvorded by Matt Keefe amongst others and called it "Happy And Free Yodel". A few years later, Elton Britt heard it, rearranged it and called it "Chime Bells"! Another country singer influenced by Torrani was Canada's yodel champ Donn Reynolds. Reynolds toured Australia in the 40s and recorded there - his songs influenced young yodellers such as Owen blundell.

I guess all these things are inter=related. Anyway, keep up the blog - yodelling needs the publicity!

13 Mar 09 - 12:37 AM (#2587747)
Subject: RE: Yodelling
From: GUEST,DonMeixner

Sorry Paul, I've never gotten to record any yodeling thus far. Not a big call for it in an Irish Band. I plan to record some of just me sometime in the next year and I will definitely have a yodel or two on it.


13 Mar 09 - 12:53 AM (#2587756)
Subject: RE: Yodelling
From: Seamus Kennedy

Hi Paul Hazell- I'm a great fan aof pretty much all the country yodelers you named; but my idol was Frank Ifield, with Roy Rogers a close second.
Are you familiar with Carolina Cotton? She was a great female yodeler of the '40's and '50's here in the States.

If you PM me I'll send you one of her CDs. Frank Ifield's too if you want.

Don Meixner, what's wrong with throwing a little yodeling into an Irish show?

I do it all the time.

Yodeling originated in Ireland, you know. *G*
"Toora - loora - oora - loora - loora, oora - loora - loora - ooh."


13 Mar 09 - 01:34 AM (#2587767)
Subject: RE: Yodelling
From: Seamus Kennedy

Hey guys - I just found out that Merle Travis was a heckuva yodeler too.

Check this out

You're welcome.


13 Mar 09 - 02:53 AM (#2587775)
Subject: RE: Yodelling
From: Stephen L. Rich

I've been doing it on stage for nearly forty years. I've yet to hear anyone tell me that I shouldn't in a folk venue.

Stephen Lee

13 Mar 09 - 05:18 AM (#2587826)
Subject: RE: Yodelling
From: GUEST,Paul Hazell

Hi again

Frank Ifield is a good personal friend and we have often worked together on radio. Seamus, have you heard the Jasmine label CD (UK release) "The Yodelling Cowboy Years" by Frank? He is also on other Jasmine releases namely "A Cowboy's Life Is Good enough For Me" (4CD set - Frank does "tHERE'S a LOVE kNOT iN mY lARIAT" AND "a mOTHER'S FAITH") AND "Chime Bells - The Best Of Country Yodel Vol 3" (Frank does "Yodelling Back To You").

I agree that carolina Cotten was probably the best of the yodeling cowgirls - nothing against Patsy or Rosalie but Carolina's yodel was clear, sharp and accurate.

For me, there were many "greats" and in my hit parade I would include Frank, Slim Whitman, Elton Britt, Reg Lindsay, Kenny Roberts, Tex Morton, Cole Wilson, Don Edwards, Rex Allen.... - come to think of it - they're all my favourites!!

13 Mar 09 - 09:36 AM (#2587930)
Subject: RE: Yodelling
From: DonMeixner

Has anyone mentioned the Riders In The Sky yet? Another fine set of harmony yodelers in The Sons of The Pioneers style. Ranger Doug (Green?) is another fine yodeler.

Seamus, I yodel just a bit with the Column on too few songs. I should add more.


13 Mar 09 - 11:50 AM (#2588047)
Subject: RE: Yodelling
From: GUEST,leeneia

Hi, Don. A few months ago we had a thread on Yodelling and Yeats which highlighted a video of the Riders in the Sky. Unfortunately, the video disappeared from YouTube.

Ranger Doug of the Riders in the Sky was a wonderful yodeller.

Much to the bafflement of my cat, I have been listening to yodelling of all kinds on YouTube. The variety is amazing. It ranges from comic to reverent in tone and features men, women, soloists and groups.

I have also discovered that against all logic, and against all supposed cultural norms, that yodelling is very exciting and beautiful. It stirs the inner being somehow.

For example, there's a popular video of a little girl, Taylor Ware, singing 'He Taught me to Yodel' on the TV show 'America's Got Talent.' One of the judges is a very sophisticated, very urban-looking black woman, supposedly the antithesis of the yodeller. Yet she loves it! She's obviously pleased and excited by the sound.
Another great yodeller is Kerry Christensen. He has a beautiful warm baritone voice and incredible yodelling technique. You can find lots of his stuff on the web.

13 Mar 09 - 12:19 PM (#2588077)
Subject: RE: Yodelling
From: Seamus Kennedy

Paul - I'm delighted to hear that Frank is a friend of yours.
Believe it or not, I was in his fan club back home in Belfast in the '60's. I just loved his singing and yodeling. In fact, he's the one who turned me on to yodeling.
And yes, I have his yodeling cowboy years album.
I'd love to drop him a fan letter (even at my advanced age) and let him know that he's responsible for me yodeling on stage.
Do you have an address.

I'm glad you're familiar with Carolina Cotton; not many people have heard of her.

Don - Ranger Doug is a friend and we are in contact once a year when I send him a royalty check for "How The Yodel Was Born".

Leeneia is right - there's a ton of great (and not so great) yodelers on YouTube, which unfortunately I watch when I should be doing something else, like learning a new song.


13 Mar 09 - 05:51 PM (#2588331)
Subject: RE: Yodelling
From: GUEST,leeneia

Hello, Seamus. It's nice to hear from another yodel explorer. As for learning new songs, you could combine both worlds and sing along with YouTube...

Apropos of nothing, my method of learning new songs is to tape the lyrics to a kitchen cupboard and sing while I cook, referring to the lyrics on the cupboard as needed.

I'm glad to hear that Ranger Doug is still with us.

14 Mar 09 - 04:23 PM (#2588901)
Subject: RE: Yodelling
From: GUEST,Paul Hazell

I agree that Ranger Doug is a fine yodeller in the Elton Britt / Roy Rogers vein. Merle Travis recorded several yodel things, most notably Jimmie Rodgers songs but also Dick Thomas's "Sioux City Sue". Dick wasalso a fine yodeller. I note that Grandpa Jones is also mentioned earlier in this thread - he had an album of Rodgers' songs called "Yodeling Hits" back around 1963.

Earlier in this thread too was a statement that the UK has not had many yodellers. That set me to thinking and I came up with Bert Terrell, George Van Dusen, Harry Wulson, Ned tucker, G H Elliott, Ronnie Ronalde, "Goofus", Chic Murray, Harry Torrani, Terry Edwards, Houston Wells, Cliff Whelan, Keith Manifold, Brian Golbey, Ron Jones, Karl Denver (great artiste but not strictly a yodeller), Frank ifield (born in UK and had his biggest hits here), Pete King and I suspect a few more!

Yodellingly yours! PAUL

01 May 10 - 01:10 PM (#2898081)
Subject: RE: Yodelling
From: The Sandman

Paul Hazell,do you mean yodelling pete king from redcar ,who used to run the black bull folk club in yarm.

01 May 10 - 03:58 PM (#2898176)
Subject: RE: Yodelling
From: GUEST,leeneia

Well, well. I had no idea the UK had so many yodellers.

My theory is that yodelling is a way of using the voice as an instrument, something similar to what birds do. Whereas most other singing uses the voice to enhance language.

02 May 10 - 12:24 AM (#2898395)
Subject: RE: Yodelling
From: open mike

Wylie gives a yodel lesson at the National Cowboy Music and Poetry Gathering

02 May 10 - 01:04 AM (#2898403)
Subject: RE: Yodelling
From: open mike
Don Edwards singing about has a little coyote yip yodel

Here he does Cattle Call - not really a yodel, i guess,
but a warble..but he does break into a yodel...

Here is Don Edwards singing Little Joe the Wrangler at his Jack Thorpe
song session

guess who the video camera operator is here? (yours truely)

lighting faces is a challenge when the hat brim is in the way!

oops no yodel in this one..

19 Oct 20 - 10:21 AM (#4075962)
Subject: RE: Yodelling
From: Jack Campin

Atul Gawande on Twitter:

"Then there's this: After 600 people attended a yodeling concert in Switzerland, one yodeler tested (+) for coronavirus. 3 weeks later, the area has among the highest infection rates in the country with 633 active cases Friday. The area has 434 cases/100K."

19 Oct 20 - 12:57 PM (#4075990)
Subject: RE: Yodelling
From: leeneia

Now is a good time not to go to concerts.

20 Oct 20 - 01:25 PM (#4076166)
Subject: RE: Yodelling
From: GUEST,Don Meixner

From the time I became interested in yodeling I have wondered if Western Cowboy style yodeling had its beginnings in Texas. I know there is a large historically German community in and around New Braunfels, Texas. Is this a good enough connection to a European tradition?

I have reread this thread again for the manieth time. I will hold to my original comment on Jimmie Rodgers yodeling only I will state it   more precisely. Jimmie's yodeling was not show yodeling like the Sons of The Pioneers or The Riders in The Sky. His was a very solid basic yodel that got the job done and done well. With out his recording of yodels we probably wouldn't have the yodeling we do today.

Jimmie Rodgers (September 8, 1897 – May 26, 1933) was already an established musician with his band when he recorded his first recordings in August of 1927. He continued to record until his death in 1933.

In 1933 Roy Rogers, Tim Spencer, and Bob Nolan formed The Pioneer Trio in or around Los Angeles. All three were yodelers and they developed a very tight polished style of harmony yodeling. There were other yodelers and it certainly wasn't unique as a vocal style by 1933. But what the Sons were doing was special.   

I think it is fair to say that the popularity of yodeling as Jimmie Rodgers did was the impetus for The Sons of The Pioneers and Gene Autry, Elton Britt, Wilf Carter and many others to add yodeling to their repertoire.

While I grew up with The Sons of The Pioneers it was Bill Staines that reawakened my interest in yodeling and my rediscovery of Jimmie Rodgers, Frank Ifield, Slim Whitman and my discovery of Suzzy Boguss, Sourdough Slim, Don Edwards, Dave Stamey and The Riders in The Sky among others.

Don Meixner