American Yodeling, Early Country Women, and String Bands
Written by Randy Black on April 4, 2017
Viking Twang Show 122, April 4, 2017
Good morning, welcome to Viking Twang Episode 122. My name’s Randy Black; happy to see you, as usual.
If you’ve been listening to the Twang, and I know you have, you know we have a soft spot for really old, weird music. So we’re going to get into three sets of music you’re not likely to hear too many other places. In the second set, we’ll have early country music from women artists, and in the final set, some songs from the 1920s. But first, what can be cheerier than a whole set of yodeling?
1 – Turkey Red; W.C. Beck & the Portland Country Underground.
2 – I Wanna Be A Cowboy; Alberta Slim. Slim was Eric Charles Edwards, an English-born musician from Alberta who recorded this in 1953.
3 – Sleep, Baby, Sleep; George P. Watson. Maybe the oldest recording we’ve ever played; this was recorded in 1901 and released several times. I couldn’t find out anything about the singer.
4 — Yodeling Back To You; Frank Ifield. Frank was a big star in Australia, especially during his days as a yodeling cowboy singer. He later had a long career playing easy-listening pop music. This is likely from the 1950s.
5 – My Pony, My Guitar, and Me; Joan Martin and Eric Tutin. Another pair of Australians; Eric wrote it and Joan sang it.
6 – Yodeling Rambling Cowboy; Frank Marvin. Frank was from Oklahoma and befriended a young singer named Gene Autry, helping him get his start. Autry returned the favor by featuring Frank in several of his movies. Frank recorded this in 1931.
7 – Treasure Untold; Jimmie Rodgers. One from the legend himself, from 1931.
We continue our trip through early music with songs from an album called Country Girls – the Early Years, and who better to kick it off than Roba Stanley, believed to be the first woman ever to be recorded.
8 – Single Life; Roba Stanley. This singer from Georgia first recorded in 1924, maybe the first woman on record. She recorded this in 1925.
9 – How’m I Doin? The Aaron Sisters and the Song-O-Pators. This sister act was also known as the Randall Sisters. This song is from 1932.
10 – Round Town Girls; Wanda & Ruth Neal. From 1926.
11 – With My Banjo On My Knee Blues; Louisiana Lou. Lou’s real name was Eva Conn. She was from Mississippi but became a star in the 1930s on the Iowa Barn Dance on WHO radio. This is from December, 1933.
12 – I Left Her Standing There; DeZurik Sisters. Caroline and Mary Jane DeZurik were from Minnesota. They began performing on Chicago’s WLS Barn Dance in 1936, and recording this in 1938.
13 – Prayer; The Wisdom Sisters. From 1927.
14 – Home-Coming Week; The Leatherman Sisters. From 1936; their only recording session.
We’ll take our final listen to music of the early part of the last century with songs from an album called Good For What Ails You – Music of the Medicine Shows.
15 – Shine; Dallas String Band & Coley Jones. Coley Jones led this early Dallas-based string band during its short career; it’s one of those bands with a rotating membership with Jones at its center. This is from 1929.
16 – Gonna Swing on the Golden Gate; Fiddlin’ John Carson & his Virginia Reelers. One of the first country musicians recorded for Okeh Records by Ralph Peer. This is from 1927.
17 – Tell It To Me; Grant Brothers and Their Music. That’s from 1928.
18 – Shout You Cats; Hezekiah Jenkins. From 1931.
19 – There Ain’t No Use Working So Hard; Carolina Tar Heels. This string band was made up of Doc Walsh and Gwen Foster, who recorded this in 1927. Clarence Ashley was later a member of the band.
20 – Daybreak in Vegas; Countrypolitans.