“Spaced Cowboy” by Sly and the Family Stone


1. “Spaced Cowboy” is the song where Sly Stone yodels.

2. There is no such creature as a yodeling cowboy. Well, there existed no such creature as a yodeling cowboy until the Hollywood era.

3. In his book on Jimmie Rodgers, Barry Mazor writes, “Yodeling is essentially a physical act that some people can do… Others try for years to do it and simply cannot.”

4. In the late twenties, yodeling became so popular that an anti-yodeling backlash grew. One record label, Lonesome Ace, printed this slogan on every release: “Without a Yodel.”

5. Jimmie Rodgers didn’t invent the blue yodel. African American singers had added yodeling to blues songs for some years, but it was Rodgers release of “Blue Yodel No 1 (T for Texas)” in 1928 that ushered in the yodeling fad and ultimately led to our association between yodeling and white singers.

6. Sly Stone yodels beautifully.

-Johnny Damm

johnny-300x400Johnny Damm is the author of The Science of Things Familiar (The Operating System), The Domestic World: A Practical Guide (Little Red Leaves), and other books. His work has appeared in Poetry, The Rumpus, Denver Quarterly, and elsewhere. He is the co-editor of A Bad Penny Review. Visit him online at johnnydamm.com.

Questions, compliments, (hopefully not) complaints?

Contact Jackie Clark: jackie [at] coldfrontmag [dot] com.

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