Slim Whitman

Absolutely the Best of Slim Whitman

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Nothing about Slim Whitman's recordings appear particularly singular or innovative at first glance, and his output of mellow, romantic songs seems to be straight old traditional country, with unassuming vocals and standard instrumentation. But a closer look at his peak period in the mid-'50s when he was with Lew Chudd's Los Angeles-based Imperial Records reveals a crafty artist who managed several pop crossover hits by dosing his country roots with some seriously atmospheric arrangements that managed somehow to sound both traditional and spacy at the same time. Toss in the fact that Whitman was an excellent yodeler and it's no accident that Tim Burton chose Whitman's version of "Indian Love Call" to be Earth's only antidote to the alien invaders in his science fiction movie spoof Mars Attacks! Whitman also learned early how to use television to market his music, and while he might have appeared to be clueless on those late-night commercials for his albums, he certainly wasn't clueless when he deposited the checks that came rolling in as a result. This 14-track collection has most of the essentials, including the big Imperial hits "Indian Love Call," "Love Song of the Waterfall" (written by Bob Nolan, founder of the Sons of the Pioneers), and his cover of "Rose Marie," the theme song from the 1936 movie of the same name which coincidentally featured Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald's version of "Indian Love Call," a song that had originally been done by Paul Whiteman way back in 1925. A couple of things are missing here, most notably Whitman's unofficial theme song, "I'm Casting My Lasso Towards the Sky," but the omissions aren't serious, and this release will certainly take care of most casual listeners, although Rhino's single-disc set has a few more songs and might be a slightly better choice. Serious fans will need Bear Family's six-disc Rose Marie box set.

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