Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Zine Review: Pishing, Hoolding, Drones & Overtones
Pishing, Hoodling, Drones & Overtones
Via a trio of scholarly zines, David Tighe is amassing a vital body of work. The third offering in his adventurous music series is “Pishing, Hoodling, Drones & Overtones” complete with a visual pun on the cover – birds arranged along a musical stave. For those who have not read the first two volumes, this issue opens with a summation of “The Story So Far”. Mr. Tighe segues into an update on eefing and hoodling, bizarre vocal techniques associated with country & novelty records. There is a discussion on the life & music of Jimmy Riddle, a master of the harmonica & the eefing vocal treatment, and a wealth of background into the eefing phenomenon & other divergent paths: throat singing, the Mills Brothers, b-movie auteur Hershell Gordon Lewis (!) and more. Eventually we’re introduced to the obscure practice of pishing which “is an onomatopoeic term applied to a variety of orally produced noises that, in general, mimic the scolding calls of birds.” Mr. Tighe also traverses into animal sounds & their use in / influence upon sing, nature recordings, yodeling, hurdy gurdy tunes, and onward into an article about flexi discs (one of my favorite record formats) and twins who invented their own language only to be anthologized by “experts” and caregivers.
The substance of Pishing, Hoodling, Drones & Overtones underscores the zeal that is often missing in modern publications. This zine is a labor of love, and it shows. It is also a resource with numerous citations and references. Mr. Tighe has also created a soundtrack – two cds worth – to accompany his zines: 67 tracks of audio intrigue. Every time I read through this zine or listen to the cds, I pick up on a different thread. Musical discovery has rarely been this much fun.