Whistling



Fred Lowery
(1910-1984)

Good, everyday whistling can be heard on "The Andy Griffith Show" theme. Ho-hum. Compared to amateur whistling, virtuoso whistling is as space travel is to a walk down the lane. And, just as whistling seems to be a dwindling pasttime for the average person, there may never be another virtuoso whistler, at least not one to reach fame on record and in popular performances. But whistling is a great art. It shares with singing the direct, completely human qualities of a "built-in" instrument; everyone can relate to it instantly. Virtuoso whistlers also imitate songbirds (bird songs are another music on the wane) to some degree. Whistling is an ancient form of both communication and self-entertainment. But the great whistlers also made music.

The greatest whistler on earth, ever, was blind Fred Lowery (1910-1984), the "King of Whistlers." Born in Palestine, Texas, Lowery lost his vision at age two. At a school for the blind in Austin, Texas in 1929, he met a bird imitator who, along with his piano teacher, encouraged him to whistle. Lowery's career began with radio shows on WFAA in Dallas, followed by four and a half years with Vincent Lopez in New York. This was followed by a stint on the Horace Heidt show, after which he toured solo. He appeared with Steve Allen, Edgar Bergen, Bing Crosby, Jackie Gleason, Bob Hope, Stan Kenton, Vincent Lopez, Ed Sullivan, Paul Whiteman, and others. He wound up whistling gospel (sometimes with bird calls dubbed in) -- to surprisingly great effect.

Muzzy Marcellino was another widely heard whistler, appearing on such shows as "Art Linkletter's House Party" (of which he became musical director) and on records as leader or sideman. ("Ricordate Marcellino" is a tune covered by Renato Corazone and Les Baxter.) Albums featuring a single whistling track are numerous, of course, but it took a Lowery or Marcellino to cause listeners to whistle back at them in amazement. And the most famous, hip, whistled tune of all? Why, the Harlem Globetrotters' version of "Sweet Georgia Brown."


Whistling LPs

Rating
8Fred Lowery: Whistling for You 10"; Columbia CL-6091; (c)1950 (La Golondrina, La Paloma, Star Dust, Song of the Islands, Caprice Viennois, Old Folks at Home, Song of India, Trees)
8Fred Lowery w/Owen Bradley: Walking Along Kicking the Leaves...; Decca DL-8476
8Fred Lowery w/Anita Kerr Singers: Whistle a Happy Tune!; Decca DL-78995 (1st press textured jacket)
6Fred Lowery w/Maury Laws: Whistling in Heaven; Gra Low GR-7100
Fred Lowery: A Family Christmas; Gra Low GR-7101
7Fred Lowery Whistles Your Gospel Favorites; Word WST-8326
7Fred Lowery: Abide with Me; Word WST-8456
7Fred Lowery: Precious Memories; Word WST-8516
Fred Lowery: It is Well with My Soul; Word WST-8563
7Muzzy Marcellino & his House Party Group: Art Linkletter Presents House Party Music Time; Capitol ST-1284
7Muzzy Marcellino w/Charles "Bud" Dant: Whistling On the Beach at Waikiki; Coral CRL-757441; 1964
6Ron McCroby: The Other Whistler; Concord Jazz CJ-257; 1984 (jazz)
7Jack Zimmerman: The Whistler & his Dog; Golden Crest CR-3002; 1956


Partly Whistling LPs

Rating
5Laurindo Almeida: Guitar from Ipanema; Capitol ST-2197
7Les Baxter: Alakazam the Great; VeeJay LP-6000 (with the 100 Men; kids/whistling)
4Les Baxter: Confetti; Capitol ST-1029
4Ben, his Tumba & Orchestra: Let's Cha Cha Cha ("Silvando Cha Cha Cha"); Mercury SR-60187
6Randy Carlos: Having a Ball; Fiesta FLPS-1221 ("Whistling Mambo")
6Chaquito: Hot Cha-Cha-Cha; Columbia CL-1293 ("Whistling Cha-Cha")
4Ray Charles Singers: A Special Something; Command RS-914-SD
4Horacio Diaz, his Piano & Orchestra: Brazilian Choo-Choo ("The Whistling Baion"); Kapp KS-3181
6Dick Van Dyke w/Enoch Light/Ray Charles Singers: Songs I Like; Command RS-33-860; 1963
8The Fortune Tellers (Robert Maxwell): Song of the Nairobi Trio ("Rosebud"); Kapp Medallion ML-7534; 1962
6Gomidas Band: Portraits of the Near East; Portraits P-1013 ("The Whistler")
7John Gregory & his Orchestra: Channel Thrill!--The TV Thriller Themes; Philips/Fontana STFL-585/TFL-5170; 1961 (UK; "Ghost Squad")
6The Daphne Hellman Quartet: Holiday for Harp; Columbia/Harmony HL-7167 ("Down the Road Apiece")
6Leroy Holmes: Once Upon a Time in the West ("Once Upon a Time in the West"); United Artists UAS-6710
4Dick Hyman & Harpsichord: Happening! ("The Ballad of the Green Berets"); Command RS-899-SD; 1966
5The Islanders; Mayflower
5Dick Jacobs & George Cates: Coral Records Presents "Main Title" ("Theme from 'The Proud Ones'"); Coral CRL-57065
6Quincy Jones: Walk, Don't Run ST; Mainstream S-6080; 1968
7The Kaplan Brothers; Kap [no #] (lounge act)
6Muzzy Marcellino/Eddie Cantor: The Veterans Administration Presents "Here's to Veterans"; Veterans Administration Program 721-2 (Tips for GI Trainees/Hire Older Persons; spoken w/music; whistling)
6Harpo Marx: Harpo in Hi-Fi; Mercury MG-20232
5Hugo Montenegro: Good Vibrations; RCA Victor LSP-4104 (compilation, w/Muzzy Marcellino)
4Hugo Montenegro: Best of; RCA Victor LSP-4361; 1970 (compilation, w/Muzzy Marcellino)
6Hugo Montenegro: This is Hugo Montenegro; RCA Victor VPS-6036; 1971 (2-LP compilation)
7Buddy Morrow & his Orchestra: Poe for Moderns; RCA Victor LSP-2208; 1960 ("The Murders in the Rue Morgue")
7Ken Nordine: Next Word Jazz; Dot DLP-3196 ("The Whistler")
8Harry Owens & his Royal Hawaiians, featuring Hilo Hattie: Hawaiian Melodies 10"; Columbia CL-6030 ("Song of the Mynah Bird")
5Tony Randall: Warm & Wavery; Mercury SR-61128
Tony Randall: Vo Vo De Oh Doe; Mercury SR-61108 (possibly)
7Felix Randolph: Spanish Spy; REP LP-104 (Latin-rock guitar on Hollywood label by composer of "Caramba"--hit for the Champs; whistling)
6Salvador & his Orchestra: Caribbean Carnival ("The Little Children of Panama"); Strand SLS-1088
7David Seville: The Music of David Seville; Liberty LRP-3073 (Ross Bagdasarian's 1st LP; partly whistling)
7Armando Trovajoli: Seven Golden Men ST; United Artists UAL-?/UAS-5193 (mono-only recording; crime/spy/wordless chorus/mod/whistling/drums)
8Miguelito Valdes: "Mr. Babalu"; Mount Vernon Music MVM-140 ("Negro")
7Klaus Wunderlich: Uraltedelschnulzensynthesizergags; Telefunken 6.21179; 1974 (Moog/whistling)
9Various: On the Road; Berry/Conroy BMLP-131; 1975 (production/funky rock/whistling/funk)


Whistling 7"/45s

Rating
6Brother Bones on the Beat: Me & My Shadow/Black Eyed Susan Brown; Tempo T-AC-3 (Compact 33, stereo; percussion/tap/whistling)
6Brother Bones on the Beat: Running Wild/Charleston; Tempo T-AC-5 (Compact 33, stereo; percussion/tap/whistling)
8The Johnny Frigo Sextet: Big Noise from Winnetka/Birmingham; Orion 1058 (prod. Gus Giordano; A-side w/whistling)
8Harlem Globetrotters, Featuring Brother Bones: Sweet Georgia Brown/Poor Butterfly; Tempo/Harlem Globetrotters 45-HGT-300
8Harlem Globetrotters, Featuring Brother Bones: Sweet Georgia Brown/Harlem Globetrotters March; Tempo/Harlem Globetrotters 45-HGT-300
8Rolf Harris: The Big Black Hat/Lost Little Boy; 20th Century Fox 230 (some whistling)
6Dick Kuhn: Whistling the Blues/Whistling in My Heart; Mercury 70843; 1956
Fred Lowery: I'm Sorry/You're Not Worth the Tears; Atlantic/Atco 6430
Fred Lowery: I'll Take Care of You My Love/?; Atlantic/Atco/Cotillion 44084
Fred Lowery: Whistlers Daddy/Proud Ones; Decca 30001
Fred Lowery: Whistlin' Joe/Heartaches; Decca 30772
8Muzzy Marcellino & the Dancing Forks: That's a Plenty/Oh You Beautiful Doll; Crystalette 707
7Billy May: The Man with the Golden Gun (main title)/Our Melody (the Phonograph Song); Capitol F-3372
6Don Robertson: The Happy Whistler/Don Robertson w/Lou Dinning: You're Free to Go; Capitol F-3391 (B-side a female-vocal ballad)
7Roger Roger & his Champs Elysees Orchestra: Dalilia/Mel Young: Cha Cha Charlie; Festival FK-296 (exotic rock/Latin/whistle; Australian single by UK production star on A-side--like Ennio Morricone's western STs; B-side like Perez Prado)
6Theophile & Bernard, the Exciting Good Guys: Sweet Georgia Brown/Quiet Village '67; Raydin RY-102; 1967


Whistling 78s (10")

Rating
8Fred Lowery (The Blind Whistler) with Horace Heidt & his Musical Knights: Listen to the Mocking Bird/William Tell "Overture"--Finale; Columbia 35234
8Fred Lowery: Indian Love Call/I Love You Truly; Columbia 36200
8Fred Lowery: Whispering/Estrellita; Columbia 36727
Fred Lowery: Land of the Sky Blue Water/Whistling Joe; Columbia 36952
Fred Lowery: Too Late/By the Waters of the Minnetonka/Too Late; Columbia 37172
8Fred Lowery: When I Grow Too Old to Dream/The Whistler & his Dog; Columbia 39699 (w/vocalist Henry Russell)
Fred Lowery: Dancing Tambourine/Sweet Leilani; Columbia 39887
8Fred Lowery: Whistling for You (3-disc album); Columbia C-148; 1950 (see 10" LP for likely titles)


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