Boogie Woogie Yodel

Steve Pastor

Staff member
Because of the dancing to Bill Haley's music in "Rock Around the Clock," I found this tune from 1947.

Mixing "country" with other genres has been going on since they started recording music for a mass market, and I'm going to guess that it was happening before they started recording people doing it.
(Haley played with the group that made this record, but is not on it.)

Anyhow, I'm wondering if I'm the only who can imagine doing WCS to this?

Meanwhile, as sort of a bonus, here is another yodeling boogie tune, this one from the 1950s era Ranch Party show spin off from Town Hall Party in Compton, this time by Wesley Tuttle.
I've spoken with Marilyn, Wes's wife, who is the gal here, about the dancing at Town Hall. And, just the other night I had a short conversation with a young guy who was complaining about the "not country music" the dj was playing, telling him to look up Speedy West, who is playing steel here. And of course Speedy played a steel guitar made by Paul Bigsby who made custom guitars a lttle over a mile from Skippy Blair's house in Downey.

Steve Pastor

Staff member

Pee Wee King came out of Wisconsin to play for country music fans. I just happen to have typed his comments...

King’s 1956 album “Swing West! Reissued in 1977 includes Western swing standards such as Steel Guitar Rag, Woodchopper’s Ball. King wrote, “I’m not sure anyone can draw a line between country and western. I’m sure I can’t.” But he also recognized regional styles and preferences. “”I did polka music when I was in the Midwest and Cajun music when I was in Louisiana. Out in California, I did western swing.” King’s nine man combo played the Riverside Rancho in San Fernando in September, 1950.
He thought of his own sound as “a kind of smooth western swing, spiced with a lot of other sounds mixed in…”
Opendoor, what can you tell use about Pee Wee's "accordian? Looks a lot like the bandoneon.
And, how about the yodeling, and the slapped bass!


Well-Known Member
That music goes off like a train.

Concerning the squeeze box:

-it got buttons instead of a piano-keyboard
-the button layout is vertically
-as far as I can see the action is chromatic (same sound when pushing or pulling) instead of diatonic (different sounds)

A bandoneon must have buttons and the array is somehow chaotic. The action is diatonic. Inside always several steel reeds are placed on heavy zink plates. Within a accordeon the reeds are fixed individually on small alu sheets.

The shown instrument is not even a cajun accordion, because it got the chromatic action instead of the diatonic (as far as I can see, anyway)

It seems to be a small european or mexican accordion. I´ll try to find out what trade mark/sello it has got.

Thanks for sharing. Really interesting stuff! And the bass man: great! Also the arch top guitar seems to be interesting. Cannot get the sello on top of the head.

Steve Pastor

Staff member
I'm really enjoying running across this old stuff. People have written that lots of things in rock 'n roll must have come from rhythm and blues. But I think that's because they don't know much about what the "country and western" musicians, in particular the ones from California / Texas, were doing.
Even Bill Haley seems to have got it wrong, because he thought no one was doing so called "black" songs in the late 40s early 50s. Well, maybe not "popular" artists. And of course we always read about the sad state of affairs when "How Much Is the Doggie in the Window" was a big hit. (Baby Boom, duh!)
The outlier cw folks were playing lots of outlandish stuff that we never hear about.

Pee Wee King is somehting of an anomoly in that he's from Wisconsin. But, polka was really big in the East and the MidWest and the West - just about everywhere - back then - and that's partly where the accordian comes from. (I was blown away when I discoverd that one of Elvis's first songs was "Just Because."
Of course the accordian was big in Mexico, too, as you note.

Anyhow, end of "rant."
I figured you might be able to fill us in on this stuff.


Well-Known Member
As far as I can ;)

In the shown vid PW King played an chromatic cajun button accordion from Baldoni. But it only sounds like a cajun accordion. Button lay out and mechanics are modern/normal.

Really interesting site. Baldoni got squeeze boxes for every folk style:

musette, alpine, styrian, cajun, polka, and spanish/mexican accordions...

Also small english concertinas and bandoneons are manufactured.

Only missing: original cajun boxes and chemnitzers (the bando relative for polka)

Later PW King used normal concert accordions (chromatic, piano lay out)

Where did his style drift to later on? More swinging, rocking, or more country-folky?

Steve Pastor

Staff member
Did a little research on this one, posted above
Pee Wee King Trots Out A Humdinger

That scene's from the film "Flame of the West" which was released in 1945 by Monogram. The gal yodeler is "little Becky Barfield." She had a career of her own:
but was with Pee Wee King's Golden West Cowboys at the time. She was only 31 when she passed, according to the one site.

These videos are of intereste to me partly because they show that slapped bass, as used in early rockabilly was part of Wetern swing. Haven't figures out who the bass player is yet.

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