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"Radiophotogram: Visual Radio is a monthly playlist gathered from the broadcasts of Wreck This Mess in Amsterdam at two bedouin frequencies: Radio 100 (99.3 FM) and Radio Patapoe (97.2 FM). Eclectic & all world[s] radio = subworld dubafarianism + psychotopographies + auditory drives + ephemeral musics heard in your neighbor's head. The playlist currently goes out to 1500+ listeners.

by Bart Plantenga


Haiku Lingo [exc] > Shelley Hirsch & David Weinstein [1]
Triohatala > Stimmhorn [2]
Im Tiroler Landl > Anonymous folk musicians [3]
Kuckucksjodler > Alfons Zitz und der Bergsteiger-Chor [4]
Haiku Lingo [exc] > Shelley Hirsch & David Weinstein [1]
ber'n Lorenziberg > Gretl Perelli und Alfons Zitz [5]
Appenzeller Jodel > Jodlerdoppelquartett des Pointonier-Fahr-Vereins Worblaufen [6]
Flueh > Jodlerdoppelquartett "Edeilweiss" Bern [6]
Am Schne Morgen > Jodlerclub Alpeblueme Herisau Kapelle Aphottli Appenzell [7]
Erzherzog Johann Jodler > Alfons Bauer [8]
Bertl und Anderl Uberschreiten den Grossvenediger > Rocket [9]
Cannon Ball Yodel Express > Kerry Christensen [10]
Echo Jodler > Maria Hellwig [11]
Der Geburtstagjodler > Maria Hellwig [11]
Kuhtutten> D'Wald-Buam und das Kgler-Duo [12]
Yodeling Veterinarian of the Alps > Veggie Tales [13]
Silly Song: The Dwarves' Yodel Song > The Seven Dwarves [13]
Singvogel Zeisi > Anonymous German Jodlers [14]
Herrgotts > Duo Pingoin [15]
Wann I Mein Jodler Sing > Die Fidelen Alpenbuben vs Georg Sappert [16]
Eurovison [alphorn] 4 > Mike Cumberland [17]
Jorat [alphorn] > Jakob Splti [18]
Haiku Lingo [exc] > Shelley Hirsch & David Weinstein [1]
Idylle Champetre > Jodelduo Sommer [18]
Dudelsackjodler > Bairisch Diatonische Jodler [19]
So Sind Die Tiroler > Anonymous Yodelers [20]
Lullaby Yodel > Mary Schneider [21]
Droomland > Olga Lowina [22]
Unteraurhahnwaltz > Helga wfmu tape [23]
Jodelnfeestijn > Olga Lowina [22]
Wij Gaan Naar Zwitserland > Olga Lowina [22]
Kabouter Yodel > Kabouters Plop [23a]
Wij Zijn de Jodelsterren / Als Ik Naar Tirol Toe Ga > De Slijpers, Migras, Alpenzusjes & Jodel Jerry [24]
Jodel School > Anton van der Heijden [24]
Rosalien > Jodel Jerry [25]
Wenn Die Cowboys Traumen > Jong en Blij [25a]
Ik Weet Allang > Bob Vrieling [26]
Hocus Pocus [live] > Focus [27]
Music for Entertainment > Ba-Benzl Pygmies [28]
Timber > Coldcut [29]
Art of Love [7" edition] > Art of Noise [30]
No Dog Barks > Dub Syndicate [31]
Mbo > The Budu [32]
Deep Forest > Deep Forest [33]
Greeting Sung by a Single Girl > Burundi Girl [34]
Sequence of Mebasi Yodeling Vocals > Gabon [34]
Creator Has A Master Plan > Pharoah Sanders vs Leon Thomas [35]
Pygmy Divorce > Francis Bebey [36]
Blue Yodel #9 > Louis Armstrong vs Jimmie Rodgers [37]
I Want To Yodel > Josephine Baker [38]
Spaced Cowboy > Sly & The Family Stone [39]
Potholes in My Lawn > De La Soul [40]
Cowboys > Fugees [41]
Raising Arizona Theme > Carter Burwell & John Crowder [42]
Yodeling > Manon Bdard [43]
Chicken Yodel > Unk Yodel [44]
Yodeling Mule > Three Tobacco Tags [45]
William L > Randy Erwin [46]
Workin' Blues > Hazel Dickens [47]
Lovesick Blues > Emmitt Miller [48]
Jesus Put a Yodel in my Soul > Wanda Jackson [49]
Tijuana Rose > Topp Twins [50]
This Bliss > Faun Fables [51]
Plantonio, The Pride of the Plains > Slim Clark [52]
Zindag: Ek Safu > Kishore Kumar [53]
Yodeling Yippie > Fugs [54]
Hitch Hike Fever > John Herald [55]
Yodeling Mountain > Bob Wills [56]
Hawaiian Cowboy > Slim Whitman [57]
Cowpoke > David Houston [58]
Calypso > John Denver [59]
Toolie Oolie Doolie > Andrews Sisters [60]
Brakeman Blues > Lefty Frizell [61]
Homecoming Yodel > Riders on the Storm [62]
Yodeling Fool > Wylie & the Wild West [63]
Group Sex > Plain People of England [64]
Auf'M Bahnhof Zoo > Nina Hagen [65]
Lullaby Yodel > Lefty Frizell [61]
Sleep Baby Sleep > George P. Watson [45]
Dream Lullaby Yodel > Wilf Carter [66]
+ Auto Reverse > Historic WTM show rebroadcast


[1] "Haiku Lingo" The extended piece "HL" on the disc of the same name, could easily be called one of the loveliest and, oddly enough for a gal from the middle of Brooklyn, one of the truest yodels I have in my modestly vast collection of yodels. This piece and the CD show incredible versatility and range going from the contemplative to the whimsical in graceful strides. [Black] humor is what saves SH from the vast realm of pretentious or at least too-self-serious vocal explorers. She has a knack for combining homespun memories, fantasy and abstract vocal adventures that create a vast and myriad portrait of human foible-rich life. Her skinny slender blade-like presence is able to transform itself into something operatic, something that fills rooms, halls, spaces with volume with a vast array of singing styles and techniques cribbing from yodelers, opera, cabaret, vaudville, stand-up, pop, jazz, rock, musical, and avant experiments with sound and vocals. Thematically Shelley Hirsch often orients herself on biographical events: childhood memories, dreams, dja vu experiences.

[2] "Schnee" by Stimmhorn on Rhr/RecRec is Christian Zehnder on voice and instruments, and Balthasar Streiff on alphorn, trumpet and other instruments. This is one of the weirdest records in my collection. I received this from fellow yodel scholar Christoph Wagner. It is a very eccentric dialog between voices and alphorn (it sounds like didgeridoo at times) which evolves into a weird operatic symphony of scat improv, yodels and operatic flourishes.

[3] "Greetings From Austria: Local & Traditional Austrian Songs & Melodies" World Music Collection #42 on PMF / Peter's Music Factory [UK], 1997. I'm a little suspicious of these so-called folk music labels that bear little info or apparent context or any particular enthusiasm for the music[s] hey seem to be profiting from...

[4] "Wenn Ich auf Hohen Bergen Steh" on Europa vinyl. Trans: When I stand atop the mountaintop. AZ is a child of the mountains, one of 14 children in a very musical family. He was so entranced by music that he went to music school to study church music where he also picked up the organ, guitar, zither, and piano. Also accompanied by the Inntaler Musikanten. "Kuckucksjodler" is part of the standard repertoire of jodelers and is found on many a record. It is an example of a yodel that imitates the local cuckoo [as in clock] bird which some musicologists claim is the ultimate source of the yodel, the imitation of the cuckoo. Hmmm!

[5] "Vom Wolfgangzee zum Tirolerland" on Europa vinyl Cover: prototypical clichd signal cover - [Austrian] Alps, a bit of snow, a clear lake, a quaint village, heavy on the blues - GP & AZ work with the Steierische Bauernkapelle Joseph Berger.

[6] "Jodel from Switzerland: Yodels Suisses" on From & For / EPM This disc seems less of a rip-off than the PMF disc because massive credits are extended. The "Appenzeller" is the most 'covered' standard yodel I would guess.

[7] "SRI Selection: Demo CD 5/97" on Swiss Radio International

[8] "Auf der Alm" AB is a zither player who is considered [by the liner notes anyway] the most popular interpreter of traditional Bavarian folk music. Here he works with younger musicians and singers to stretch his repertoire. AB with Das Mnnerquartett "Edelweiss", Pepi Reichl, a 'jodlerin' or female yodeler and others...

[9] "Freudental" is Rocket's self-produced CD. This was given to me by Hans Kaliwoda of Blindpainters, one of the German organizers of this great conceptual traveling art show called the Europ/art/rain, a train that travelled throughout Europe, gaining exta cars in each country, exhibiting along the way. I eventually did a radio show of train music/songs and Hans heard about it and asked me to help do the soundtrack to the Europartrain documentary, which I did. It came out nice. Along the way, as we worked together, I mentioned that I was writing a book about yodeling. He made a CDR of this great modern yodel by an interesting [unknown?] German band named Rocket who seem to take their musical inspiration from Trio, Suicide so that they sound something like Iggy Pop meets Kraftwerk in a head-on collision... as they yodel in an ambulance on the way to intensive care.

[10] "Swiss Cowboy" on Yodeling Tooth is another of KC's many interesting forays into over-blown blusterous and quasi-operatic undeniably insolent yodeling and yet his prowess and technical expertise cannot be denied in these bathetic folkloric post-modern pastiches of multifarious yodels. It's in the realm of Slim Whitman who also seems to play with kitsch in a way we don't fully comprehend or appreciate! His yodels are the macho vocal equivalent of the impressive and yet often-aimless technique of rock guitar solos. Show-offy bathos but earnestly affecting nonetheless.

[11] "Mein Liebster Jodler" on East West Records, 1981 is a collection of this trad-clad popularizer of German-style yodeling. She has the operatic lungs to reach the furthest mountaintop and shake the edelweiss off its stem.

[12] "Ein Zillertaler Heimatabend" on ORF/Philips vinyl. The cover alone is worth the price [free?] alone. It shows a basic performance in a traditional beerhall, the group in traditional leather lederhosen and white kneesocks, two of the performers wielding axes, two others cutting a log with a long saw, a man on accordion, a man behind the harp - let the fun and yodeling begin! A strange cross-dress of Jugend SS und Volk S&M...for good ole healthy local-color fun.

[13] "Thunderstorms & Neonlights: Yodeling of the Plains" is a CDR of mp3's made for me by Ron of the Patapoe program Jongens van de Vlakte. Thanx Ron. The 2 CDs he has made for me thus far have saved me a lot of leg work and flipping through thousands of CDs and dusty LPS! Veggie Tales seems to be some kind of Weird Al Yankovic inspired offshoot. One of the great 'popular' yodels is certainly also called the "Silly Song" from Frank Churchill's soundtrack for Disney's "Snow White & the 7 Dwarves."

[14] "Sang und Klang vom Alpenland" on Falcon vinyl. Trans: Songs and Sounds from the Alps.

[15] "Zipfel eine Zipfel Ausse" onTyrolis / Austo Mechana cassettes. This wacky duo's Lederhosen Lounge style of light-pop with bouncy choochoo train hammond organ accompaniment is so fed through hotel lounge entertainment strategies as to come off as something you might have heard in an early 60's Reno Nevada casino as you sipped drinks of mysterious hues...You poke your elbow into your partner's giddy side and say with all due trepidation, "this is fun, isn't it?"

[16] "'s Jodeln is Mei Freud: Grusse aus den Bergen" on Top Five vinyl. Cover: massive snow-capped Alps in backdrop with a chalet in the foreground... buben is German for boys but all you women already knew that.

[17] "Echoes of a Disappearing Planet" MC is a master alphornist and sounder of natural spaces and urban settings. How the alphorn identifies and duets with the surroundings. Half of this cassette was recorded in North America [Grand Canyon, Grand Tetons] and the other half basically in Switzerland.

[18] "Belle Romandie" on Europa vinyl. What luck when my neighbors [who'd lived in the apt for 30 years!] moved out and were cleaning out the attic when I spotted 3 or 4 boxes of old LPs. They were planning to throw them out! So anything I took would be a help to THEM! I found some 7 or 8 'classic' Alpine yodel discs among them [makes you realize that there was a time when yodeling was the rap of another ear-a] as well as the Olga Lowina disc! French yodeling from the French sections of Suisse are quite different in nature. Less cold, warmer, more mellifluous AND rare. The music in French Switzerland was influenced by France and by the Bern Alpine and pre-Alpine regions where the use of alphorn and yodeling came from. The yodel here probably dates from the 18th century.

[19] I have no information on this one. It comes off a CDR made for me by Ron van de Frituurmonumenten [his name translates loosely into sculptures made of fried things]

[20] "So Sind Die Tirolerland" No info. I have it on cassette courtesy of Black Sifichi whose new CD collaboration with Black Dog should be out momentarily. When in Paris be sure to catch a DJ gig by BS.

[21] "Yodelling the Classics" on Koch Crossover Music. Bad taste wasted on talent or talent wasted on bad taste, this is gruesomely delightful kitsch geekness. She is an original [from Australia where there has been quite some noticeable outbreaks of yodeling] who can stop traffic anywhere, in fact, she could probably stop the world for a second, just slightly not long enough to reflect on how many bizarre things so many people do. She yodels bits of Rossini, Bizet, Mozart, Brahms, Beethoven, Strauss. Serious because she is seriously without tongue anywhere near her cheek. That's why her yodels are so pure resonant and wasted.

[22] "De 20 Grootste Successen" by Olga Lowina, Polydor, 1996, CD or "Zestien successen van Olga Lowina" by OL, Polydor, vinyl. She once said "I have an iron throat, I don't need a microphone, and I have the stamina to sing for hours." She was indeed one of those sturdy Wagnerian operatic-looking belters, in full Tirolean costume who deep into her 60s was still able to amaze people with her vocalizing prowess, an untutored singing voice of crystal. But it wasn't all prowess and volume. The self-effacing reminiscences of OL, uncrowned queen of yodeling, resemble something like bemused pride, as if she'd been handed a gift that she never quite knew how to explain. She often performed in front of audiences of 1000 or more without the aid of a microphone. She once said that "you don't need to cop an attitude just because you were born with a particular talent." She recognized her talent at a very young age in Boekelo, NL, when she used to sing along quietly to herself with her brothers' orchestra, the Krontjong Serenaders. "I was always yodeling along with them, and I suddenly discovered I had what it takes to do this kind of singing." OL, looking on some of her album covers a little like a John Waters / Divine character stranded in the Tirol with her leaning tower of beehive bouffant. OL was an artist. OL was a pop star, an unassuming pop star who just plainly loved to give her audiences what they wanted. OL's singing, gilded with an obligatory healthy lungful of gymnastic yodels, somehow found her way into Dutch hearts and ears more than once. She came to prominence after World War II when there was a strange fascination on the flat lands with everything mountainous, exotic snow-covered peaks, the alps, the Tirol. It was an exotic other world for Dutch people. And OL took the post war generation there when they could ill-afford a real vacation.

[23] I now note that the first yodels I played on my radio show predate 1994, going back to 1988! Perhaps there is a strand of my DNA that got cross-wired in my aesthetics detection software...

[23a] Is off one of the Kabouters Plop Cds. A 'kabouter' is Dutch for 'gnome' and the Kabouters Plop is a daily TV segment that chronicles the lives of the various Plop gnomes. It is fairly interesting and funny actually in a weird way. The Kabouters Plop had a kitschy remix house hit with their recent "The Kabouter Dance". It became a party sensation because it is wacky kitschy goofy and you can dance to it. The Dutch/Belgian/French/German fascination with gnomes [there's the Garden Gnome Liberation Front active in these lands, for instance] is not translatable into simple a simple US equivalent. It is culturally specific.

[24] "Slijpers Disco Polonaise + De Jodel Disco" on Telstar. A maxisingle on vinyl it is probably one of the strangest artifacts in my collection and I have found NO information on it anywhere. Please help me. A medley mix of yodel standards, extended dance single, kitsch and disco, it is absolutely and insanely interesting.

[24a] "Nederland Piratenland" On Dureco Benelux vinyl. A collection of pirate radio hits, I think. A very strange genre or series of Dutch records indeed. I know nothing about AvdH.

[25] "Cowboys en Meisjes" on Telstar/Parade vinyl. This is a collection of Dutch cowboy music. Some of it eerily 'genuine' sounding. I am STILL on the trail of ANYthing about Jodel Jerry who is a really fine jodeler.

[25a] Same disc by Jong en Blij [Young & Happy] under the leadership of Madame Smulders. Hmm! Obscurity is an addiction not easily overcome.

[26] "Prikkebeen" on Telestar Favoriet vinyl. BV on the cover in classic kitsch cowboy garb [see Blazing Saddles!], well-groomed white horse looking into the camera lens, shiny saddle, shiny boots. He looks a little like a Belgian Liberace or Gene Wilder. Here singing a song by the more famous and prolific Belgian yodeling cowboy, Bobbejaan Schoepen.

[27] "Focus Live at the Rainbow" on Sire. Recorded live at the Rainbow Theatre in London, May 1973. Focus is one of the most Dutch famous bands outside of NL. [See also Shocking Blue, Tee Set, Golden Earring, The Ex, The Kift, Bettie Sievert...] They formed in 1969 and gave up the ghost in 1978 [internal wrangling over the direction of the band no doubt]. Formed around the technical prowess of Thijs van Leer [keyboards, flute, vocals] and Jan Akkerman [guitar]. Successful in the early days of keeping their serious pretensions [see Dave Mandl's recent review of "Progressive Rock Reconsidered," Edited by Kevin Holm-Hudson, Routledge, 2001 in a recent issue of the "The Chicago Reader"] and melding low brow with high art. They blended jazz rock, swirling organ, flute, lute and expressionistic guitar flourishes [see rock guitar heroes] with classical touches and some hooky tunes [see early Jethro Tull through "Aqualung"].

[28] "Anthology of World Music: Africa: The Ba-Benzl Pygmies" on Rounder. Many of the nomadic Pygmy tribes of Gabon, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, the Congo, Zaire, Rwanda, Uganda, and Burundi practice variations of the yodel. These hunters and gatherers live in forest and marshland areas considered dangerous and uninhabitable by others. Pygmies however, consider their homeland, the forest, the source of their being - food, shelter, and spiritual sustenance. The yodel is a way to communicate with various forest spirits, a way of negotiating its hazards and communicating with one another. The Pygmy yodels were the source [with nary a credit or a dollar pumped back into their economies] for many many mid 90s ambient dub samples. Most excrutiatingly, was/is Deep Forest that combines dance with kitsch and new age romanticism. And yet, despite all that, some of their compositions actually are affecting.

[29] "Let Us Play!" by Coldcut & Hexstatic on Ninja Tune. This is a great piece of creative sampling commentary [aesthetics in the service of message?] with accompanying CD-Rom, a pro-rain forest effort complete with sampled chainsaws serving as back beats and plaintive pygmy yodels as the forlorn voices of a disappearing habitat.

[30] "Art of Noise on The Ambient Collection" on China Records / Polydor, 1990. This is a piece that includes A very Swiss wacked yodel that sounds pumped up with speed [should inquire] The liner notes talk about - this is 1990 after all - creating a new way of travel: "An ambient ecstasy. The creation of a new musical travelogue. A minimalistic embrace of everything good about the hard and uncompromising trance-dance of house and the surrealism of ambient instrumentalism. ..known as "New Age House" or "Ambient House". Everyday sounds, noises and atmospheres we've imagined and heard all our lives but never consciously listened to. An unfocused daydream with no background or foreground. Asense of not being yourself, of being apart from what you're listening to. A drift into tranquility, in and out of reality..." Anne Dudley, J. Eczalik, Ted Hayton, remixed by Youth. China Records 27 Queensdale Pl. London W11 4SQ / The Art of Noise was a socio-polito-musical diatribe dating from 1913 by Italian Futurist Luigi Russolo...the art of noise...was an extension of the spirit of Dada, it aimed at orchestrating the cacaphony of modern life, reorienting our ears to better understand noise as something of possible significance and aesthetic importance. Noise would shake loose all bourgeois prejudices...

[31] To my ears the most beautiful recycling of yodeling samples (heartrending ornamentality?) comes on "No Dog Barks" by Dub Syndicate, produced by the London mixmaster, Adrian Sherwood. It threads the pygmy yodels through as a melody which sounds as plaintive as any lonesome whistle yodel. These few examples offer further evidence that yodeling may serve as the organic precursor of contemporary ambient soundscapes.

[32] "On the Edge of the Ituri Forest" includes great recordings from 1952 and wonderful liner notes with music of the Central African Pygmies.

[33] "Deep Forest" is Deep Forest's first album. DF is a new agey, French-based fabricator of ambient dioramas who tread precariously between somewhat schmaltzy and yet not unaffecting reappropriations of Pygmy yodels by accelerating, bending and layering them across vast continents of electronic space.

[34] "Around the World: Traditional Music vol. 1" Absolutely 2 of the most beautiful affecting vocals.

[35] "The Best of Pharoah Sanders" on Impulse vinyl. "Creator" was recorded in 1969 with lyrics by Amosis LEONtopolis THOMAS. Jazz vocals often showcase Pygmy yodeling's influence on "western"-style singers. Leon Thomas, for instance, sings a unique madcapped style of scat singing which utilizes the opening at the top of his larynx allowing his voice to veer off into yodeling which hearkens back to Pygmy yodeling. It is most evident on saxophonist Pharoah Sanders' "Creator Has A Master Plan" and "Shukuru." Musicologist Ashenafi Kebede goes so far as to suggest that the Pygmy "performance styles remind us of contemporary European avant garde music at its best." I'm not arguing.

[36] "I am the tallest pygmy in this life," goes one poetic line from the song. I discovered Bebey back in 1988 in France when I picked up a cheap piece of absolute crazed melodramatic vinyl that contained the multi-lingual interpretations of Pygmy everyday life in a humorous and yet instructive and enlighteningly charming manner. Francis Bebey, 72, Composer, promoter, popularizer and performer of African Music, musicologist, novelist, poet, died May 28, 2001 of a heart attack at his home in Paris. Francis Bebey was one of the pioneers of contemporary African music who had an influential multifarious career. Born in a small village near Douala, a Cameroon seaport, Bebey enjoyed playing a traditional Pygmy flute as a child. But Bebey was an omniverous sponge of sources, inspirations, and influences. He was educated in Cameroon, France and the United States, and his guitar playing was influenced by the work of the great classical guitarist Andres Segovia.

[37] This from Ron Frituurmonumenten's mp3 CDR of yodels found on the internet. Bebop jazz vocalists, "cooling" Louis Armstrong's signature scat singing, best highlight the way yodeling can be utilized as an aspect of scat. Because scat is partly the human voice's attempts to imitate or "talk" with a musical instrument - often the trumpet. While yodeling, is sometimes said to evoke the alphorn's sound. While Rodgers borrowed generously from black sources but "he proved to be nearly as influential on black styles, his own blue yodel providing the basis for Howlin' Wolf's patented howl." Tosches even suggests (and why not) that Rodgers may have been influenced by Bessie Smith who may have yodeled in concert although she did not on the 1923 recording of "Yodeling Blues. And when Rodgers teamed up with Louis Armstrong in 1930, he of course, introduced yodeling to jazz. And broke the color barrier.

[38] Paris' favorite [American] "negresse" when Paris was the cultural center of the world. JB who held court and captivated revue audiences for years also "stooped" to yodeling!

[39] "There's a Riot Goin' On" on Epic. "Spaced Cowboy" is the first of a series of funk/rock/soul/rap yodels that can only be termed a strange cross-pollinated aberrant hybrid. But this really, really kicks. It's a real yodel from one of the greatest rock legends from the 60s

[40] "3 Feet Hi & Rising" is a great debut album by one of the ground-breaking non-testosterone driven rap and hiphop outfits. And why this yodel? Who knows. I was unable to locate Parliament's [Funkadelic] yodel called "Little Old Country Boy". Anybody want to tape it for me and send it to the address below!?

[41] "The Complete Score" continues in this weird but fine funk-cowboy tradition. I have yet to crack the mystery of why or where from however.

[42] "Raising Arizona" Joel Coen (dir.) 20th Century Fox, 1987, stars Holly Hunter, Trey Wilson, John Goodman. Carter Burwell (composer). Soundtrack cut 2, "Way Out There" is a yodel with John Crowder doing the yodeling.

[43] I know nothing about this dance mix yodel from, I believe, Quebec. Trance house boogie yodel? Very cool actually.

[44] Delirious punk fauna yodeling! Have no idea who or what this is except the yodeling is inspiringly aggressive.

[45] "American Yodeling: 1911-1946" Trikont 3 Tobacco Tags were from textile town, Gastonia, NC. They combined instros and comic bits with standard songs. "They even dared to play hillbilly versions of well-known Bing Crosby titles." Christoph Wagner in liner notes. Recorded in 1911! George Watson "was the most successful white yodeler on the Vaudeville circuit." CW. The song became a standard and was to become the first song Jimmie Rodgers recorded. This is a great CD from a great German label that does its background homework and research to produce inspired compilations - see there 3-CD set of versions of the standard "La Paloma"!

[46] Randy Erwin is a great and mellifluous yodeler who comes out of that strange czech-mex-tex hodgepodge in the middle of arrid Texas. He is currently label-less and this is a crime of some sort. From an unpublished interview with RE:


RE: I grew up listening to an old Eddie Arnold single of "Cattle Call" and I listened to it obsessively around four or five years of age. There was also an album of Beethoven's 5th and I obsessed on that too. So it was cattle call and Beethoven over and over again in a back room of my house with an old record player grinding away. I loved the unusual sounds on both records. They were of equal value in my small mind. I moved on quickly to all kinds of music after that, but I always returned to Beethoven for meaty substance. Yodeling was what I heard on old time recordings by hillbilly artists, or western swing bands in Texas, and I put on the Eddie Arnold record later from time to time because I think I heard something about the quality in the yodeler's voice that was like my own. But for twenty years or so I dismissed it as something not important to me musically. It was just dirty hillbilly ramblings on scratchy records that I could ignore. I was too close to it and too young to really understand what was going on musically. I heard alpine yodeling in passing, but I never even considered it as musical. It just sounded strange. Of course I was probably just startled by it, and I was ignorant, and again, too young.


RE: I had always had a very clear boy soprano's voice. I sang all alone, never letting anyone hear me. But I knew that I was hitting all the notes, had a very wide range, and could really push out a powerful tone when I wanted to. But stage fright never let me sing for anyone...ever. I remember listening to a television program when I was ten or so about the Vienna boys choir, and they were showing auditions, so different boys sang the same passage over and over. By the third boy I was singing along, and to my ears I sounded better than he did. I knew that the human voice sounded very different to the singer when it was recorded and played back, so I attributed my little fantasy of singing in Vienna to my misperception of my own voice. I desperately wanted to sing, but fear held me back. I should have let someone hear me and help me, but I was a farm kid and you just didn't concentrate on things like that when sports were what everyone expected from you.... After college graduation (film school) and during my first job writing advertising copy at a television station (a truly horrible job) I started to hear "cattle call" in my mind over and over again. That was a very strange experience.... Anyway I got out the electric piano that I had carried around with me since high school, chorded out the song and started to sing the verse, got to the yodel and it came out perfectly formed, in pitch, in nuance, just floating like Eddie, straddling the baritone I had become and the boy soprano who had long since departed. I found that I had never actually lost the soprano part of my voice. If anything, my larger chest and the breathing techniques I had developed playing trumpet made the highest tones more resonant. I knew that I had good pitch, a good baritone, a good soprano, and a big break right in the middle. Perfect for weaving a yodel into a song. I went out the next day or two and bought some records. You know, RoyRogers, Bob Wills, lots of obscure cowboy/swing bands collected on different albums, things like that. Stuff I had heard before at home, but now I listened very closely for any yodels.

[47] Socialist blues yodeling. Inspired and humorous.

[48] "The Minstrel Man from Georgia" on Columbia/Legacy. For the definitive story about the mystery of blackface yodeler EM and the entire early 20th century dynamic musical millieu see Nick Tosches excellent book Where Dead Voices Gather [Little, Brown]. Tosches in his inspired style, reminds me of the obsessive Klaus Kinski character in Herzog's "Aguirre: The Wrath of God" or "Fitzcaraldo". From a review by Luc Sante at BookFurum: "In Nick Tosches's first book, Country: The Biggest Music in America (1977), he summoned up the ghost of Emmett Miller, 'one of the most intriguing and profoundly important men in the history of country music.' It was a safe bet that most readers had never heard of Miller, who recorded sporadically between 1924 and 1936 and who, by the '70s, had fallen so deeply into obscurity that even his birth and death dates were unknown. Nevertheless, as Tosches puts it, Miller was the Rosetta Stone of country music. His recording of "Lovesick Blues" was, note for note and inflection for inflection, the template for Hank Williams's version some twenty years later, just as his recording of "Right or Wrong" was for the one by Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys. Miller's "clarinet voice," his refinement of the yodel, his wild broken-field running over a melody, and his willful enjambment of black and white traditions seemingly forecast every development in country vocal practice between Jimmie Rodgers and the countrypolitan era. Miller was forgotten the way prophets always are... In Tosches's hands, though, Miller becomes an enigma almost on a par with Robert Johnson and Lautreamont. Where Dead Voices Gather is not, needless to say, a biography of Miller..."

[49] Once in awhile I get emails from people wanting to know where to find gospel yodeling. Well, here you go. Here's one from that great old female equivalent of Elvis. She toured with Elvis in the early days. She was a great early rockers [see her doulbe record compilation from Charly] but this is as kitschy as Elvis woulda warbled it! Yodeling as fundamentalist propaganda tool?

[50] "Grass Highway" is on their own label. The ToppTwins [Jools & Lynda] are definitely an interesting act. Yodelers, lesbians and kiwis! This song, their liner notes note: "This is a tune we grew up on, sung by one of australia's greatest yodelers, Shirley Thoms..."

[51] "Mother Twilight" on Earthlight. FF is Dawn McCarthy. I interviewed her for my yodeling book altho she is much much more. She is a conceptual vocalist whose work is both abstract and narrational and in that way she, like Shelley Hirsch, manages to fuse human pursuits with more abstract and intellectual or pure aesthetic ventures. Warm and adventurous. From the interview: "My first inspiration was a woman 'Liisa,' from the old record 'Liisa Yodels.' ... Certainly all the yodellers that've inspired me are of the swiss style - fast, melodic and doll-like, somehow. Can I also put in a vote here for pygmy yodelling? Which is quite a different character - almost entirely spiritual and waif sounding. Regarding other music, I am influenced by things that sound remote - growing out of some tree in a wood. Well, OK, that's figuratively speaking - but I do love a variety of what seems to be obscure music. The melodies used in Norwegian folk music really rang true in me - they have no "scales" per se as traditional western music favors. I am biased toward any good vocal music; over the top singers, wild screamers, exacting polished singers that sound like a reed instrument...anything that guts or charms me... Brigitte Fontaine, Iva Bittova, Dimi Mint Abba, Demis Roussos, Eva Demarczek, Robin Williamson, a flamenco singer named Lole..."

[52] "Cowboy Songs: Vol. 2" on Palace. Cover illo: a silhouette of a cowboy on his horse either rolling a cigarette or blowing into a harmonica or sneezing into his hands... The man I bought this from at this flea market outside Lancaster was so heavy that he never budged from his reinforced beach lounge chair. I wondered who set him up in the morning.

[53] I got this from fellow WFMU DJ, Rob Weisberg, who mentioned this and then was so kind as to record it for me. He says "it's from a film called 'Andaz'. Kishore Kumar was one of the handful of big star singers in India during the so-called 'golden age' of film music (50s/60s/70s) and unlike many of his fellow 'playback singers' he also acted in films. Here's a link from an article about him" Thanks Rob and now, how to find out more about Bollywood yodels! Anyone have any clues?

[54] The Fugs are where anarcho-syndicalism and the art of yodeling meet. I recently interviewed Ed Sanders for my yodeling book and his "Yodeling Robot" [spun on other radio shows and yodel theme shows] remains one of the most interesting and entertaining of yodels - lyrically and in how he uses the studio = echo/reverb to enhance the effect of the yodel.

[55] "Roll on John" on Shoeshine Funny that it has to be a British label that puts out American demi-legends like JH. You'd think there'd be a label in his neck of the Woodstock. In any case, he was recommended to me by Ed Sanders and Ole Joe. He used to be in the bluegrass group, the Greenbriar Boys which he formed in 1959, recorded for Vanguard, formed the Woodstock Mountain Review and was a session musician much in demand. He has written songs for many folk greats. But he is beyond proficient and adept. He is engaging and warm, charming with a serrated edge. His voice edges toward Hank Williams and Jimmie Rodgers. His yodeling here on one song is both jubilant and haunting.

[56] "Westward Ho!" on Camay Records vinyl. Also inc. Tex Williams, Tex Ritter, Hank Fort, and Elton Britt. Got this at that same weekly flea market in the fields outside of Lancaster, PA where kids toys and old books and jewelry were being sold right next to tables laden with all kinds of rifles and gun paraphernalia [post 9.11].

[57] Slim Whitman for a time in the 80s was the most telemarketed singer, cowboy, yodeler, what have you, of all time. His record sales via TV marketing were purported to be in the mumbledy millions. Um, SW was always what Elvis only became later on in his career.

[58] I know absolutely nothing about DH. I suspect his real last name is something else, however.

[59] "John Denver Greatest Hits Volume Two" on RCA 1982. I got this from Annelies whose mother used to be in some kind of Dutch John Denver fan club! Go figure! It is interesting, my mother also liked John Denver [as well as John Davidson!] when I was younger. She especially liked the way he [they] managed to make 'long' hair look neat. This yodel is charmingly over-produced with lots of reverb to beef up the slender yodeling of JD. Inspiring lines: "To live on the land we must learn from the sea / to be true as the tide."

[60] I have two yodels by the Andrews Sisters now. They seem to have something that resembles soul that allows them to keep reverberating - of all those 40s vocal groups, they remain one of the most interesting. I guess all their verve and enthusiasm was nicely cut with a healthy dose of world weariness or something...

[61] "Life's Like Poetry" by Lefty Frizell is a massive 12-CD set. I don't have it!

[62] They are the Firesign Theatre of yodeling. They are the Marx Brothers of country music. They are good because they take the piss out of it all including themselves.

[63] "Total Yodel!" by Wylie & the Wild West on Rounder is much much better than the average slick cowboy crap coming out of the Grand Ole Orifice.

[64] "The Gab - Gift or Curse?" Dave Mandl handed me this CD when we hung out one night around St. Marks Place. I asked DM more about the band "This is actually one of a hundred mutations of the Murphy Orchestra, or Orchestre Murphy, which is Rob Murphy's ongoing project. Rob lives in London and releases amazing 'pop' music under the above names, as well as 'Murphy No Geisha'. I think Murphy is unequivocally a pop genius. One of his CDs ("Smut") was released by Alcohol." This yodel is buried and subtle, insinuating and yet somehow it happens that they saw fit to employ a yodel for an ambient vocal effect.

[65] "Nina Hagen Band" on CBS vinyl, 1978. A western release of her early East German hits. Hagen employs a kind of glossolalia-infused falsetto that hovers somewhere between SETI voice pattern and someone speaking in heroin-as-religion tongues. She was a real jokester who was able to do amazing things with her voice, tongue and face. She was a true role model for many a punkette in the early 80s. The question is whether she herself believed that her ululations were actual [successful] attempts to communicate with Extraterrestrials.

[66] Wilf Carter, aka Montana Slim, walked right off the drawing boards to become one of the industry's standard sartorial role models. But, hell, he could yodel with the best of the coyotes.

* I am, as you have by now guessed, writing a book about yodeling. A more formidable task than it first looked like. Yodeling is much more widespread than I at first thought, which, of course, makes it all the more amazing that there has NEVER been a book [in English, at least] that gives a history, overview, and discopgraphy of yodeling. Amazing. I mean, not only is it an Alpine and cowboy thing but there are yodelers in Australia, Polynesia, Hawaii, Africa. And yodels have glottaled their way into just about every genre of music from country to jazz, rap, techno, rock, Bollywood, pop, and even CLASSICAL with composers like Beethoven, Berlioz, Mahler and Rossini all employing yodeling at one time or another in their compositions.

And so, if anyone has any info, direction, resources, odd bits of yodel history or yodel discs or is a yodeler him/herself, then please do not hesitate to contact me. Discretion is guaranteed. No yodeling salesman will ever call!

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* "plus another few hundred when it hits the BSI list!" Ezra

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

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Selected Wreck This Mess playlists have begun appearing regularly in 3am Magazine under the title Radiophotogram: Visual Radio. Also posted is my interview with Judy Nylon.


Bart Plantenga was born in Amsterdam, bred in the U.S. is a DJ, journalist, and novelist. He has been a DJ for 16 years (in Paris, NY, and now Amsterdam). He is the author of many radio, music, culture, esoteric articles as well as a short story collection, Wiggling Wishbone (1995). He is the author of four novels including Confessions of a Beer Mystic and Paris Sex Tte. Bart is currently writing a book about yodeling.

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