This blog is dedicated to the sublime instruments called nose flutes and which produce the most divine sound ever. We have chosen to discard all the native models from S. Pacific and Asia, for they need fingering to be played. We'll concentrate on "buccal cavity driven" nose flutes : the well patented and trademarked metal or plastic ones, plus, by a condemnable indulgence, some wooden craft or home-made productions.

May 27, 2012

What would Elvis have done ?

In a recent e-mail, our friend Maikel Mei wrote « ... even Elvis Presley [is] said to have played the nose flute on recordings... » This could not let me peaceful until I had found. And I found.

Kissin' Cousins is a 1964 low-budget musical comedy set in the hills of Tennessee, starring Elvis Presley in two roles, one as an American soldier, the other a hillbilly. And if an attentive nose-flute-accustomed searcher watches (and listens to) the movie trailer, he'll notice some nose flute playing... At 0'15, 0'42, 1'26, 1'57 and 2'12.

Those 5 short nose flute appearances are parts of the songs Barefoot Ballad, Smokey Mountain Boy and Catching On fast, three of the soundtrack songs recorded on Sep. 30, 1963.

But... But if you watch the parts of the movie corresponding to these songs, you will hear no nose flute at all on two of them, and some rare notes "undermixed" and rather inaudible on the third one.

If you listen to the movie soundtrack record, it is **almost** the same : the nose flute on Smokey Mountain Boy has been replaced by whistling GI's and Catching On Fast features no nose flute neither. But, hopefully for the nose flute History, Barefoot Ballad has kept its nose flute track, with a decent sound level !

Here is Barefoot Ballad (nose flute version) found on Youtube, but you can buy it on iTunes or on Amazon to get a better sound quality.

So, what happens ???

To get some explanations of the differences between the movie trailer and the movie itself and the soundtrack record, I needed to reach an expert. I asked Mr. David Troedson, curator of Elvis Australia, the very knowledgeable Elvis fan club website in Australia. David answered me very gently and quickly :

« Antoine, very often the songs in the movies had extra overdubs, they were never released on the albums or singles so I think this would be the reason. I am not even sure when these were done but as they were not a part of what Elvis considered good for the recording I would say the movie studios did the overdubs to suit themselves or they were done after Elvis finished recording to suit the script but were not considered appropriate for release on album or singles. Although the recent Blue Hawaii FTD Collectors club release included three 'movie version' tracks so Sony obviously had the tapes in this case. To be honest I have never been interested as these versions to me are inferior. There have been times when these have been released unofficially on bootlegs but the tracks have been recorded straight off the video [video in the case of the one series released about 12 years ago] if anyone was to do them today they would take them from a DVD of course.

So if you get yourself the DVD you will probably find it has the flutes. Now there were two versions of the song Kissin' Cousins so I think that is where you are hearing the two different flutes. But you should be able to hear the lyrics are different. At this time the soundtrack has not been released on CD. »

Thank you David!

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