“Home on the Range” by Slim Whitman

Yep, America’s most notoriously hokey Folk singer, a man primarily known for his yodeling prowess, singing America’s most cliche, overexposed folk tune. How can this be anything but an embarrassment, you say? But the thing is, in spite of Slim Whitman’s ridiculously corny image, the man really did have an amazing voice, and his high, haunting, almost eerie tenor actually sounds quite gorgeous here. He also sings the song as a slower tempo than most of us are used to, making it sound less like the upbeat folk singalong it’s become over the years and more like the lyrical nature rhapsody it was originally intended to be. As for the song itself, it’s primarily known for its opening verse and chorus, which all of us have heard so many times that we barely register the meaning of the words anymore, but the song does have two other verses, and those verses are far more poetic and atmospheric than the snippet we generally hear (the second verse in particular invokes an almost sacred sense of atmosphere in its description of the feelings of a man looking up at the stars). So if you actually listen to this rendition of the song, which I doubt many of you have, it’s actually quite likely to change your mind about Whitman, and to give you a whole new respect for the Classic Folk genre in general.

Verdict: This is actually one of the greatest combinations of singer and song in all of Classic Folk, and deserves infinitely more respect than it’s ever likely to get.

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