Tuesday, August 16, 2005


Slim Whitman, Bandera Waltz.

Our very lethargic stroll through '52 continues.

Otis Dewey “Slim” Whitman hailed from Tampa, Florida (he never was fond of his nickname, bestowed upon him by his record company). Born in 1924, Whitman was considered the last of the singing cowboys, noted for hits like "Indian Love Call" and "Secret Love." A purist of sorts, Whitman recorded mainly cowboy songs and ballads, never novelties or honky-tonk numbers.

Whitman, after getting married to a preacher’s daughter at age seventeen, worked as a meat packer until he severed two of his fingers. When the war began, Whitman joined the Navy, where he learned to play the guitar (left-handed, due to his maiming). After being decommissioned in 1946, he worked in a shipyard and played minor league baseball. At last, in 1948 he began playing music professionally and soon caught the eye of the infamous Col. Tom Parker, though Whitman still worked as a mailman part-time to support his family.

Whitman, oddly enough, became much more of a success in Europe and Australia than he ever did in the U.S. While a few of his hits in the early '50s crossed over into the U.S. pop charts as well as topping the country charts, he was mainly considered a minor-league country performer in the U.S., while in the UK, by contrast, he played the London Palladium, the first country singer to ever do so, and his songs dominated European radio throughout the decade.

"Bandera Waltz", marked by a glorious vocal by Whitman matched by Hoot Rains' soaring steel guitar, was recorded in Shreveport, Louisiana, in May 1952, with Curley Herndon (lead guitar), Curley Harris (b), Sonny Harville (p). Released as Imperial 8144 and can be found here.

Chords to Bandera.

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