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Debuting in the early 1930s, The Hoosier Hot Shots were one of the first, and best, novelty groups of the 78 rpm era, and if you can't figure out what they were like from such song titles as "From The Indies To The Andes In His Undies," well, pardner, there ain't much I can tell ya. Listen to me, talking like a hayseed - that's what listening to these guys will do to you. But despite their "rural" schtick, they were actually plenty sophisticated, essentially playing hot jazz with as much virtuosic flair as any fancy-pants big-city orchestra. Only funnier.
Their trademark sounds were a cartoon-ish slide whistle, klezmer-esque clarinet, superb multi-part vocal harmonies, and, quoth wiki, "...a strange, homemade instrument known both as the "Wabash Washboard" and "the Zither," played by Hezzie [Trietsch]. It consisted of a corrugated sheet metal washboard on a metal stand with various noisemakers attached, including bells and a multi-octave range of squeeze-type bicycle horns."
Hard to pick favorites, but can you really go wrong with a song called "We Love Bananas Because They Have No Bones"? And what happens to "Sioux City Sue" will interest the pain and bondage crowd. What must be a much later recording then their '30s/'40s heyday has them demolishing Elvis' "Hound Dog." Surprisingly, they play it straight on the sentimental ballad "Someday (You'll Want Me To Want You)." Tho it is pretty weird hearing the slide whistle try to make like a lonely sax solo.
Some saintly soul has prepared four short albums (10 songs apiece), w/a bonus ep of a few songs taken from YouTube vids. Albums (or just individual tracks) can be downloaded for free here:
HOOSIER HOT SHOTS
"This is the silliest music I've ever heard. A-"
- Robert Christgau