King’s Classic Yodeling 78

78 RPM claims that King released Carolina Cotton‘s signature song “I Love to Yodel” (penned by the singer herself) as the B-side – Discogs, too.  I find that hard to believe:

“I Love to Yodel”     Carolina Cotton     1946

According to the person who posted this audio clip on YouTube:

Recorded 30 October 1946 (possibly) at Radio Recorders, 7000 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood , CA — Hank Penny Orchestra a.k.a. Carolina Cotton Pickers (Hank Penny [leader], Carolina Cotton [vcl], Fred Cianci [fiddle], Ralph Miele [steel], Doye O´Dell [gt/vcl?], Max Fidler [fiddle], Bob Caudana [accordion], and possibly Eddie Bennett [piano].

Carolina Cotton was born Helen Hagstrom in Cash Arkansas (1925 – 1997) a.k.a., “The Yodelling Blonde Bombshell.”

“I Love to Yodel” b/w “Mocking Bird Yodel”

Surprisingly little fanfare surrounding this unjustly obscure western swing King classic – released in November, 1949.  Exactly three years prior, King had released Cotton’s first single “Three Miles South of Cash (In Arkansas)” b/w “Singing on the Trail” in November, 1946.  Cotton briefly performed with Hank Penny, reports the Rockabilly Hall of Fame, who undoubtedly helped her get signed with King.

I first learned of this song by way of cassette, interestingly enough — yet another influential musical moment facilitated by the Cherokee Trading Post, who once sold tapes of King recordings (sometimes conjoined with items from the Starday label) produced by Gusto/IMG — owners of the King and Starday combined catalog since 1975.  The cassette in question All Star Western Swing — as with Country Tunes Done R&B (celebrated in the previous piece) — has no corresponding catalog record in Discogs, nor can you find any information about it on the web (okay, one reference).

Undated cassette – produced by Gusto/IMG

Furthermore, just as with Country Tunes Done R&B, there is a King LP that appears to be the inspiration for the cassette version marketed by IMG/Gusto — in this case, 1963’s Western Swing – Famous Western Bands.  This vinyl long-playing collection contains all 8 songs found on the cassette plus 4 additional tunes by Paul Howard (& His Arkansas Cotton Pickers), Leon Rusk, Luke Wills (& His Rhythm Busters), and Jimmie Widener.

Western Swing – Famous Western Bands [King LP 876]

[click on song title links below to hear streaming audio]

A little surprised by the fact that five of the twelve songs included on this album are not yet available for preview on YouTube.

*Amusingly, the label says “Bring It On to My House HENRY

I remember sending copies of these tapes to Larry Nager during my first flush of wonder back in the 1990s on my annual trips to Cincinnati, and Larry theorizing that places like Cherokee Trading Post in semi-rural West Virginia just might be the last vestiges of Syd Nathan’s distribution system in place — “bringing the music to the people” where they live.

“I Love to Yodel” can also be found on this rare Audio Lab EP

An earlier version of “I Love to Yodel,” by the way, would be recorded for Cotton to sing in the 1944 film I’m From Arkansas. (click on link to watch the clip).  Check out the Carolina Cotton website for lots of great information and vintage photos.

“Seven Deadly Finns”: Roots Rock Rediscovery

Back in the days of vinyl (i.e., “before music was free”), there seemed to be endless time to pore over the contents of a record album.  However, truth is we invested the time, since budgetary restraints (and lack of YouTube) made it incumbent upon the listener to really make the most of each musical purchase.

As someone whose limitless appetite was often constrained by limited funds, I have a particularly fond spot in my heart for various artists compilation albums, particularly the ones that have a strong hit-to-miss ratio.  UK indie label, E.G. Records, issued one such album in 1982 – First Edition – a good-value gathering of offbeat songs that run the gamut from art-rock to ambient-pop.

First Edition LPHow interesting to learn only now that Eno oddball track – “Seven Deadly Finns” – with its doowop touches and nice little yodel near the end, is a single that appears on no other album but this one (even then, only the American – not the UK version!)

Even more fascinating to discover this live television performance, where a still-glam Eno sings to a noticeably different backing track than the rambunctious mix on the First Edition compilation album:

“Seven Deadly Finns”     Brian Eno     1974

Eno’s 70s take on the early 50’s rock sound fits right into Peter Doggett’s narrative (as captured in his biography of David Bowie in the 1970s – The Man Who Sold the World) that “it seemed [in the early-mid 70s] as if everyone in British pop was remembering the 1950s and early sixties, from Elton John’s ‘Crocodile Rock’ to 10cc’s ‘Donna’ and Wizzard’s ‘Ball Park Incident,’ taking a self-conscious look back at an era they had originally experienced without a hint of irony.”

Saw this concert film (at concert volume) at a cincinnati cinemahouse in 1973

Good Times Roll aRoots Rock’s Reawakening:  Moving Forward (by) Looking Backward

Bob Dylan & The Band     Original Basement Tapes Sessions     1967

The Beatles     “Lady Madonna” single    1968

The Beatles     Get Back Sessions     1969

Bill Deal & the Rhondels     “May I”     1969

Sha Na Na     Woodstock Performance     1969

Bryan Ferry     These Foolish Things Sessions     1973

David Bowie     Pin Ups Sessions     1973

The Who     Quadrophenia Sessions     1973

Various Artists     American Graffiti (film)     1973

Various Artists     Let the Good Times Roll (film)     1973

David Essex (et al.)     That’ll Be the Day (film)    1973

Rockin’ Ronny     “We Like Rock and Roll”     1973

David Essex (et al.)     Stardust (film)     1974

Brian Eno     “Seven Deadly Finns”     1974

John Lennon     Roots      1975

Jimmie Rodgers: First to Be Posthumously Produced?

Believe it or not, Sean Combs isn’t the first person to fashion new musical product from older material created by commercially viable artists who are no longer extant.  Far from it.

Back in 1955, twenty-five years after Jimmie Rodgers‘ passing, RCA Victor convened an overdub recording session in Nashville with members of Hank Snow’s backup band, The Rainbow Ranch Boys, along with Chet Atkins.  “In the Jailhouse Now #2” is but one of Rodgers’ classic recordings that received a little posthumous sweetening:

[Pssst: Click the triangle to play “In the Jailhouse Now #2” by Jimmie Rodgers & Friends.]

Is it possible that Jimmie Rodgers is the first musical artist whose recordings would be retooled post-mortem to meet the needs of an ever-changing marketplace?

Jimmie Rodgers 78

Interesting to note that “In the Jailhouse Now” (1928) & “In the Jailhouse Now #2” (1930) were both released as B-sides.

Thanks to PragueFrank for identifying the names of the musicians who helped modernize Jimmie’s original recording in order to give it that “Nashville Sound” —

  • Jimmie Rodgers (vocals & guitar)
  • Chet Atkins (electric guitar)
  • Joe Talbot (steel guitar)
  • Tommy Vaden (fiddle)
  • Ernie Newton (bass)

Date of overdub recording session:  March 18, 1955
Recording location:  RCA Victor Studio, Methodist TV, Radio & Film Commission
Producer:  Stephen Sholes

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“Lost Highway”:  Hank Williams + Chet Atkins & Friends