Play it Again, Carolina

Yodeling Blonde Bombshell, Vol. 1 (Kit Fox Records)
Carolina Cotton

By Larry Alexander

So my buddy brings by this CD for me to review. Says it's probably a joke. I thought, Why not listen? Yodeling. How long had it been since I had heard some really good yodeling?

Well, Carolina Cotton entered and I was blown away. I can vaguely remember sitting around the old tube type radio at my grandparents' home on Saturday afternoon in the Fifties listening to a wide variety of music. (Believe me, the Fifties had some yodeling.) This CD covers Cotton's career from the mid to late 1940s through the mid-Fifties, although the song selections are pretty much new to me, with a few exceptions, including "Cattle Call,. a yodeling fan's dream. And Carolina turned it into magic.

My favorite cut is "Tater Pie," which strikes me as being very Americana. In fact, the entire CD is full of Americana in the form of Western swing.

Cotton, for the uninitiated, was a mainstay on radio and in cowboy B-movies during the aforementioned decades and is considered an innovator in Western entertainment. Born in Arizona, she grew up poor but began performing as a dancer at a young age. The showbiz bug bit and the rest is history. Cotton became a teacher and continued making public appearances until she died in 1997.

This whole reissue is delightful. These remastered selections are like a fine wine that has only become better with age - only in the form of a really accessible and drinkable beer. I would recommend this to all who are really into the history of music in America. Yodeling Blonde Bombshell official goes into my I-will-play-it-again-many-times stack of music.

There's a good fan site at www.carolinacotton.org.