Reviewed by Dave Brassington
Let's be honest, the late Slim Whitman is very much a Marmite-type person. Either you see the Canadian singer and yodeller as a pioneer of country crooning or you think of him, if you think of him at all, as a yodelling anachronism (remember, Slim was once lampooned in a light-hearted sci fi movie where it was the sound of his yodelling which repelled the monsters). If you like Slim, this budgetline release is certainly worth investigating. His choice of material was often right outside the usual country norm - who could ever have imagined that a couple of light opera classics such as "Indian Love Call" and "Rose Marie" would produce such international mega hits? In fact for many years "Rose Marie" retained the record (pardon the pun!) of being the UK's longest running no 1 hit until Bryan Adams took it away with the Robin Hood film theme song "Everything I Do I Do For You!" In fact on breaking the record Bryan was even so gracious as to have Slim come out at his concert to shake hands. On many of Slim's early recordings there was a simple but very effective backing of a small group of musicians, strongly featuring the steel guitar accompaniment of Hoot Rains which really augmented Slim's fantastic high pitched singing. Another thing Slim was always keen to avoid were too many "cheating songs" often prevalent in popular country music, something which I know didn't always endear himself to the Nashville Establishment, but was fuelled by Slim's Christian beliefs. On this two CD release we get 50 tracks, the vast majority from his great early 1950s era. Some of Slim's other great hits are here, the truly lovely "I'll take You Home Again Kathleen", "Secret Love", "China Doll", "Love Song Of The Waterfall" plus a whole host of country classics given a great airing by this great artist such as "Sweeter Than The Flowers", "Cattle Call", "Molly Darling" and "Lovesick Blues". The collection concludes with the anthemic "Vaya Con Dios".
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