I am the reason my father liked Slim Whitman. When I was a baby, my mother went to the local record store to find a recording of someone, anyone, singing “Down in the Valley,” a song I favored. Mom wasn’t picky. The clerk found the song on a new, long-playing album – “Love Song of the Waterfall,” by Slim Whitman, a country singer. Not knowing what she was getting into, Mom purchased the record, took it home, and popped it on the turntable for a spin. And immediately she was flabbergasted by the high tenor yodeling that Slim could produce. But I liked it and so did my Dad. By the early 1980s he had 20 or more Slim Whitman albums, from Irish ballads to Christmas classics.
When I was in college, my friends and I celebrated Slim’s birthday with a dorm room party, cheap Lambrusco, and “Love Song of the Waterfall” playing at full blast. Afterward I wrote a letter to Slim (in care of the fan club address on one of Dad’s albums), telling him about the party and our Sternweis family Slim fan-dom, and he replied — with this autographed photo and “A little Memo from Slim.” His was the only celebrity autograph I ever sought out.
Slim Whitman was born January 20, 1923, and he died June 19, 2013. May he forever yodel in peace.