Monday, February 21, 2011

Spell of the Yukon...and remembering Dan

I just purchased the .mp3 album of "The Spell of the Yukon" by Stuart Hamblen. We had this album; I imagine my parents bought it while we lived in Alaska. The cover shown on the Amazon page looks familiar. I thought I'd listen to it on my ipod and get myself even more in the mood.

When I hear the piece called "Mush!" it makes me think of my brother Dan (who died of ALS in November, 2006). I can just see him taking his deep voice posture, tucking his chin down, and exclaiming, "Mush! Mush! Mush on you malemutes. HALF dog, HALF wolf, riding through the night." I also remember him singing, "North to Alaska" when he was first learning to drive. He didn't know any more words than those 3, so he repeated them, "North to Alaska....North to Alaska." Hence the name of this blog.

My sister sent me the link to "The Cremation of Sam McGee," one of the poem-songs on the album, read by Johnny Cash in this youtube video. Youtube also has a version of "The Spell of the Yukon," another poem on the album. Most of the pieces on this album are by Robert Service.

When I listen to "The Cremation of Sam McGee" I see my dad in my mind's eye. This kind of poem/song with a touch of humor always make him laugh. Like "Hot Rod Lincoln" and "Big, Bad John."

1 comment:

  1. I recognize that album, too. I believe the vinyl version still exists in the furnace room here. I don't know how it would play after all these years. Anyway, most of the poetry Stuart Hamblin reads on the album is by Robert W. Service. Here's a link to Johnny Cash reading "The Cremation of Sam McGee":