Mere Words Cannot Express

July 14, 2013 2 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

John Scott lists the best wordless verbal musical utterances from DuvAlumni.

Forward to 1:38

5. “wwwww” – uttered by Jimmy Ricks of the Ravens on “Green Eyes”  

This just gives me a chance to talk about the amazing Jimmy Ricks, a Jacksonville native who was a member of one of the greatest vocal groups in history, The Ravens. His bass vocal leads were the standard by which doo-wop and vocal group bass singers were measured.  They were the link between the Ink Spots and doo-wop in the late 1940s and early 1950s, inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 1988. The “wwwww” is part of the first word “Well” of the song. But the way he delivers it, “wwwww” is a word in itself. Just listen to that voice. I think of the word “meekness” in its original definition: strength under control. When you hear Elvis Presley sing on his lower register, you can tell he listened to a bunch of the Ravens growing up; simply beautiful.

6. “oooo-eeeee-ooooo-eeee” (yodeled) –uttered by Slim Whitman in “Indian Love Call”

Well, you don’t get many yodelers making the pop charts anymore. Heck, we’ve never had too many at all. The late Slim Whitman had a top 10 pop hit in 1952 with “Indian Love Call”, his only big American pop hit and one of many country hits. Whitman moved to the area in 1957 after his first wave of hits and lived here until his death this past June. He gained popularity with two later generations: first, it was his greatest hits album sold on television (“outsold Elvis and the Beatles in England!!!) that introduced Slim to the ‘70s and ‘80s and found fame again in the 1996 movie Mars Attacks, where Slim Whitman’s “Indian Love Call” made the Martians’ heads explode!

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