Thursday, June 20, 2013

Yodelobit: Slim Whitman

One of the men who was in my Dad's small record collection when I was a small son, Slim Whitman, has died.

Whitman - born Otis Dewey Whitman in 1921 - had originally been heading towards a career in baseball, but like many of his generation, a spell in the forces changed his life. Serving in the US Navy, he'd filled downtime playing guitar and on his return to civilian life, he started to pick up slots on local radio, eventually landing a regular role on the Louisiana Hayride programme. Colonel Tom Parker arranged a first record in 1948

Whitman's career burned brightest in the early 1950s - his cover of The Love Song Of The Waterfall was first a crossover pop hit, and then crossed the Atlantic be a UK hit as well. Fashion would move on - the arrival of Elvis sucked away first much of Whitman's pop fanbase, then his country fans - but he continued playing, if not recording.

A Greatest Hits collection and a willingness to play live allowed for a comfortable semi-retirement. His last UK tour was in 2002, but in 2011 Whitman did produce one final studio album, Twilight On The Trail. (There remain six unreleased recordings from the sessions, apparently, so he might manage a posthumous album.)

Slim Whitman was 90. He died June 19th from heart failure.

And Slim? I remember you.

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