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Slim Whitman, RIP
June 19, 2013 4:56 PM   Subscribe

Country crooner Slim Whitman has passed away at the grand old age of 90. His gentle, relaxed and pristine voice (featuring an effortlessly soaring falsetto and a mighty fine yodel, friends) is the kind that, well, you just don't really hear anymore on the pop music landscape. Let's take a moment to revisit a musical aesthetic that now seems a million miles away... Cattle Call, Rose Marie, North Wind, Blues Stay Away From Me and Indian Love Call. So long and happy trails, Slim.
posted by flapjax at midnite (36 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite

 
NOW how are we supposed to stop the Martian invasion?


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posted by delfin at 5:05 PM on June 19, 2013 [14 favorites]


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posted by brundlefly at 5:09 PM on June 19, 2013


Slim was a prolific recording artist with a large catalog, and the tunes included in this post are, therefore, just my personal favorites from him. I'd include this one, too, though, which got lost in the shuffle somehow: I'll Take You Home Again Kathleen.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:10 PM on June 19, 2013


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There's also *Mars Attacks.*
posted by spitbull at 5:12 PM on June 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


You know, because of the TV ads for his music, everyone in my town knew Slim Whitman in the early 1980's and he was sort of an ubiquitous "low hanging fruit" punchline for any given situation. Not because we especially disliked him or anything (his music was more like our grandparents' music than like our parents' music, so what was there to dislike?) but because those ads were so darn amusing. One of two moments that I really laughed loudly at during Mars Attacks was the Slim Whitman as a weapon sequence (the other involved a well known singer and a bird of prey).

Later in life, I listened to a bunch of his music (shortly after I discovered that I have a decent falsetto singing voice) and, no shit, Whitman turned out to be a heck of a singer and really a pretty decent showman. Yes, time passed his style of music by a bit, but his voice was pure and lovely.
posted by Joey Michaels at 5:13 PM on June 19, 2013 [5 favorites]


My grandparents did like him, a lot. Well, he had a good run.



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posted by droplet at 5:18 PM on June 19, 2013


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posted by Renoroc at 5:26 PM on June 19, 2013



posted by Smart Dalek at 5:35 PM on June 19, 2013


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posted by Xoebe at 5:39 PM on June 19, 2013


Yeah, those ads killed his reputation, but those old records of his are fantastic listening. 90 is a good run. Rest well, Slim.
posted by Fnarf at 5:46 PM on June 19, 2013


Slim's always in the mix when I'm driving through the mountains.

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posted by mazola at 5:59 PM on June 19, 2013


You can tell Roy Orbison listened to a lot of Slim. Both voices had the same great ethereal quality.
posted by ericost at 6:04 PM on June 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


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posted by Zonker at 6:11 PM on June 19, 2013


Sad news, but 90 is a good run for anyone. Always loved this one. And the Andy Kaufman version.
posted by freakazoid at 6:13 PM on June 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


I love yodeling cowboy music unironically and with all my heart. I was so sad when I saw the news early this morning, although he had a good long life.

In the unlikely event that I get married, and in the even unlikelier event that I have an even remotely traditional wedding, I always wanted to walk down the aisle to Slim's Indian Love Call.

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posted by elsietheeel at 6:23 PM on June 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


. 2013 is shaking out to be a tough year for musicians.
posted by PuppyCat at 6:26 PM on June 19, 2013


You know, because of the TV ads for his music, everyone in my town knew Slim Whitman in the early 1980's and he was sort of an ubiquitous "low hanging fruit" punchline for any given situation.

Yeah, those ads killed his reputation


Wow, yet another reason I'm glad I stopped watching broadcast TV about 30 years ago: never saw said ads.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:30 PM on June 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah, ninety IS a good run.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 6:56 PM on June 19, 2013


We have never been less safe from a Martian invasion.
posted by munchingzombie at 7:22 PM on June 19, 2013


Funny what sticks with you.

My father was known to signal the end of his participation in social engagements by abruptly standing up, carefully setting down his empty glass of bourbon and branch, and launching into an ear-splitting falsetto version of "I'll Take You Home Again Kathleen". Mom then would hustle him to the car before he broke out in yodels.

When emptying ashtrays and picking up empties after a party I still sometimes find myself whistling it.

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posted by BitterOldPunk at 7:25 PM on June 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


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posted by disclaimer at 7:29 PM on June 19, 2013


Never a fan, but I will say this: his reputation will certainly outlive that of the execrable Mars Attacks that people keep bringing up.

Lord, that film was dire. Alan Smithee or whoever made it had a lot of gall holding Slim Whitman up for ridicule.

I hope Slim laughed all the way to the bank.

One more item: Slim was one if the few guitarist of his generation to play lefty, and one if the few of any generation to play left while a natural righty.
 
posted by Herodios at 7:32 PM on June 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


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posted by rahnefan at 7:35 PM on June 19, 2013


. to the biggest selling record star in TV music history.

NOW! AT LAST! K-TEL PRESENTS THE BEST OF SLIM "BULLFROG" WHITSTIEN ALL ON ONE RECORD! YOU LOVE SLIM "BULLFROG" WHITSTIEN!! YOUR NEIGHBORS LOVE SLIM "BULLFROG" WHITSTIEN!! EVERYBODY LOVES SLIM, RIGHT? RIGHT? RIGHT! THEN CALL! YES! NOW! GRAB SOME DOUGH! GET A PHONE! YES! NOW! CALL! GO! YES!
posted by Challahtronix at 7:43 PM on June 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


From my parents' favourite album, the year I was seven: Paloma Blanca-ah-AAAH I mentioned Slim's passing to my husband today, and it's what we both started to sing. He's part of the fabric of our childhoods, and as adults we see why our folks liked him. As music fans, he's in our mix too, but we can't not shake that one snippet from those commercials.

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posted by peagood at 7:43 PM on June 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


i've got a rainbow or two in my eyes tonight

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posted by lapolla at 8:06 PM on June 19, 2013


I grew up watching commercials of Slim and being not quite sure what exactly to make of him , even though I liked the sounds of his records. At any rate, he's part of the cultural landscape and he'll be missed.

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posted by jonmc at 8:13 PM on June 19, 2013


I put in a Slim Whitman tape, my wife put on a brand-new hair net...
posted by Melismata at 8:13 PM on June 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Her yodel was more Jimmie Rogers than Slim Whitman, but that style always makes me miss my Grandma.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 9:04 PM on June 19, 2013


Vaya con Dios, Slim.
posted by Sphinx at 9:09 PM on June 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


My grad-school roommate's boyfriend (her former professor, highly skilled at bullshittery) had us convinced that Slim Whitman was Walt Whitman's grandson. And that's how I choose to remember him.
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posted by bibliowench at 9:37 PM on June 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


For reasons that have been lost in the mists of time, when I was about nine years old I used to "entertain" my parents' friends at dinner parties with what can only be described as Slim Whitman performance art. I would put on a mascara mustache, a spangly '70s-era nightgown, and a cowboy vest made out of a grocery sack, grab a yardstick for a guitar, and yodel Vaya con Dios while my sister (who inevitably put me up to it) sobbed with laughter in the next room.

I had largely forgotten about this, but today when the news broke that he died, my sister posted on her Facebook page that for many years, whenever she felt sad, she'd think of Slim Whitman and her goofy kid sister imitating him, and it would cheer her right up. Vaya con Dios, indeed, Slim.
posted by scody at 10:03 PM on June 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


Stumbled across Indian Love Call at age 11, loved it. Still do, 40 some years later. Good run, Slim, rest well
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posted by Fibognocchi at 10:04 PM on June 19, 2013


Elvis was a huge Slim Whitman fan, or so I've read a few times. And it just so happened that he would have, as his manager, the guy who discovered Whitman, Col. Tom Parker. You can easily spot the influence in Elvis' version of "Blue Moon," unless you are hearing impaired.
posted by raysmj at 10:37 PM on June 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


I wasn't too big on the yodeling, but yeah: the man could sing.Vaya con Dios, Slim; I'm embarrassed to say I'd have guessed you'd passed long ago.
posted by easily confused at 2:17 AM on June 20, 2013


Elvis' first professional gig was at the Overton Park Shell in Memphis opening for Slim Whitman.
posted by vibrotronica at 7:15 AM on June 20, 2013 [3 favorites]


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