Singin' Cowboys...
December 2, 2008 4:22 PM   Subscribe

Anyone know anything about yodeling cowboy music?

A collegue of mine's father passed away the other day, and he just posted this request:

Please help me find music and lyrics to or a recording of one of Dad's favorite songs. It's a cowboy or western song, and features yodeling. The lyrics are something like "riding on the trail of sunshine, spread a little happiness as you go/wile away the miles/smiles/yodelayeho, yodelay" We plan to use it for a sing along in the service. My musical cousin(s) will be the band.

The song was not sung by Sting in a recent movie. I've googled every possible combination of trail, sunshine, spread, happiness, lyric, cowboy, song, and western to no avail. The song was probably recorded by a singing cowboy of movie fame from the late 1930's or 1940's. It may have been in the sound track of a B-movie western from that era.
posted by black8 to Media & Arts (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
You may want to trawl through this website:

Bear Family is probably the greatest label around for cowboy yodeling music, with large box sets by nearly every important cowboy singing star. I did a search on the words "sunshine" and "happiness" by their artists and found: "Let A Little Sunshine In Your Heart" by Wilf Carter, Canadian yodeling cowboy and "Down The Lane To Happiness" by the Sons Of The Pioneers, who also yodeled now and again. This kind of music is very straightforward, so the title will probably be similar to the lyrics. Maybe it's one of those two!
posted by Dee Xtrovert at 4:49 PM on December 2, 2008

I first thought of Slim Whitman - when I think of yodelling I think of him. And vice versa. But he's not the first person I associate with cowboys, bless his mild-mannered heart.
Maybe Roy Rogers has something to do with this, and his song Happy Trails To You. Even though the lyrics aren't right, he was certainly a TV cowboy.
posted by Beautiful Screaming Lady at 4:52 PM on December 2, 2008

I think it might have been The Sons of the Pioneers , taken from the Roy Rodgers radio show (who certainly fits the B movie cowboy description) see 'The Best of the Roy Rogers Radio Shows Volumes 1 2 & 3' on this page , available here: They don't specify the Sons of Pioneers for that song but there is another Sons of the Pioneers Cd with it on mentioned here, and they appear on that first collection, so I guessing that is who it was.
posted by tallus at 5:03 PM on December 2, 2008

That song being: Ridin’ Down the Sunshine Trail
posted by tallus at 5:05 PM on December 2, 2008

I think the current king is Wylie Gustafson.

He's most famous for the Yahoo (Search Engine) yodel. He used to be in a new wave band called the "The Time", whose name was later changed to "The Talk", on account of Morris Day way back in the early 1980's.

I used to go the Trading Post Saloon in Missoula Montana to watch his band.

But then he morphed into the C&W king he is now. I saw him play in Kent a few years ago, he is genuinely talented. I don't know the genre well, but I'm pretty sure he's the current king of yodeling C&W.
posted by Tube at 5:57 PM on December 2, 2008

I think tallus is right. "Ridin' Down the Sunshine Trail" was performed in "The Stranger from Texas" (1939) by Sons of the Pioneers. (#38 on their imdb listing, under "soundtrack".)
posted by wearyaswater at 6:27 PM on December 2, 2008

It turns out I have a different Sons of the Pioneers track , but one that also features yodeling. As to the Roy Rodgers connection: they were founded by Leonard Slye— later, and better, known as Roy Rodgers.
posted by tallus at 12:50 AM on December 3, 2008

Can't answer your question but my favorite contemporary yodelin' cowboy is Don Walser.
posted by Manhasset at 7:41 AM on December 3, 2008

Best answer: Thanks for your input. Another colleague provided a link to a web site about Tim Spencer, and that includes links to mp3s of Sons of the Pioneers songs. Here's the link or url:

For no particularly good reason, I've been investigating Wilf Carter (aka Montana Slim) and Eddie Dean as sources of Dad's song. Barnes and Noble web site includes snippets of Wilf Carter songs, but haven't found THE song yet.

Again, thank you for your help with this. We may have to pick a different song. Memorial service is Sunday.
posted by Mpls Mark at 12:59 PM on December 3, 2008

Anybody familiar with Famous Timothy Lashue - aka Famous, the Singing Cowboy? Broadcast from Duluth, MN on KDAL in the 1930's and 1940's. Ths song may have been his theme song.
posted by Mpls Mark at 9:34 AM on December 4, 2008

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