Alanna Nash
December 12, 2003 AT 05:00 AM EST

Yodel-Ay-Ee-Oooo

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Bart Plantega
genre
Nonfiction

We gave it a B

How did an ancient Swiss mountain tradition evolve into an American country-music staple? That’s only one of the questions Plantenga seeks to answer in his solid, exhaustive look at yodeling, a high-pitched ululation good for herding cows, marketing Tarzan, and inflicting Martian brain melt in a Tim Burton film. Moving beyond the kitsch factor, the author credits Jimmie Rodgers, the tubercular Singing Brakeman, for siring Nashville’s infatuation with this Alpine cry; notes that real cowboys probably didn’t yodel before Gene Autry; and tracks the warble as far as Bollywood and New Zealand.

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