There could only ever be one Slim Whitman. A left-handed guitar player with an arresting falsetto vocal style that sounds eerily like Johnny Mathis blended with Roy Orbison
, Whitman fell to the western side of country music, but he also had an odd pop sensibility, too, and his most memorable recordings are a fascinating mesh of motifs, whether Whitman intended it that way or not. Helped immeasurably by Thomas "Hoot" Rains, whose fluid slide steel runs provided an achingly chilly complement to Whitman's unforgettable falsetto vocal lines, songs like 1951's "Love Song of the Waterfall" and 1952's "Indian Love Call" are decidedly postmodern recordings that sound like they belong to the soundtrack of some Hollywood western shot half underwater and half from outer space. But Whitman wasn't a on- trick sideshow pony, and he could sing like a beautifully errant angel, as his gorgeous version of Mathis' "The Twelfth of Never" makes clear. All three of these unique sides are included in this fine two-disc survey of Whitman's career from 1951 to 1971, along with other Whitman gems like "Rose-Marie," "Tell Me Pretty Words," and the folky ragtime of "What's This World a Comin' To." With 28 tracks, everything essential is here.