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Slim Whitman

Posted by purplemary54 on June 19, 2013

Slim Whitman was something of a cliché.  He sang classic country (“the music of pain”) in classic 50s style.  His distinctive trademark was his yodel, used to great effect most famously on “Indian Love Call”.  It seems kind of hokey now, but it was a pretty big deviation from the blandness of most country music.  Sadly, it was his only distinction from the pack.  While he was a good singer, there was nothing else that set Whitman out from his genre.  He became in later years a bit of a joke (the 1996 version of Mars Attacks! used the yodel from “Indian Love Call” as a humorous way to kill the Martians).

Country music in the 50s and 60s was more a matter of lush orchestration wearing cowboy hats.  There was little more than costuming to distinguish it from other pop hits.  Oh, there was the occasional slide guitar or fiddle, but it seemed like there was a conscious movement away from the things that make a song Country.  Country songs were often most easily identified because they were stories set in Texas or Mexico.  Maybe they didn’t want to be viewed as hicks or rednecks, but it was like cutting off your nose to spite your face.  It sucked all the life and soul out of the music.  There were artists who bucked the trend, of course (Hank Williams comes to mind), but by and large, the performers kowtowed to producers and promoters and blended seamlessly in with the rest of the pop charts.

But Slim Whitman handled his genre capably.  He wore his Nudie suit with pride.  And he yodeled like a Swiss mountain climber.  While his death is sad for his family and friends, he had 90 good years in this world.  And the eternal concert just got another fine performer.

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2 Responses to “Slim Whitman”

  1. Sandee said

    And wha the?! — Andy Kaufman in the wings 🙂

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