“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 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.
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