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Spell Of The Yukon

Stuart Hamblen

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Album Review

Stuart Hamblen's The Spell of the Yukon is an innovative early concept album that combines the Yukon poetry of Robert W. Service with Hamblen's original songs, produced in a style reminiscent of Johnny Horton's "North to Alaska." Many of the cuts feature Hamblen's dramatic poetry recitations with musical backing and sound effects. All of the material deals with the Alaskan frontier or bigger-than-life Yukon characters, and despite the emphasis on Service's poetry, Hamblen's songs are the highlights. "Mush" and the romantic "Make Believe Bay" are fine, but "Pokolodie Bill Left His Soul Behind" is Hamblen's masterpiece, a masterful and evocative composition that is easily one of the best things he ever wrote. Despite making a strong impression on many of its listeners, The Spell of the Yukon was not a big seller and remains a well-kept secret.

Biography

Born: 21 October 1908 in Kellyville, TX

Genre: Country

Years Active: '30s, '40s, '50s

The name alone evokes a big, beefy hard-livin' type and that's exactly what Stuart Hamblen was. Popular for singing hits like "My Mary" and "Texas Plains" during the '40s, Hamblen was also cast as the ranch "tough" in many cowboy flicks of the era, as his reputation with the bottle served him well for the role. Hamblen, however, eventually found God and left country music...
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Spell Of The Yukon, Stuart Hamblen
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