The Drifting, Vistling Snow

Ernest Iverson, better known as Slim Jim, was a born entertainer. Injured while working in a Texas oil field, he found his calling when he began working in radio. He and his brother Clarence (“The Vagabond Kid”) were regular performers on the air here in the Twin Cities, and later on a television program called “Slim Jim’s Westerners.”

The Slim Jim album on Soma Records, which you’ll often see in record racks here in Minneapolis, were released posthumously, after Iverson passed away in 1958. This single he recorded for the label is a take-off on “The Shifting, Whispering Sands,” a 1955 Rusty Draper hit with a long narrative about a prospector adrift in the desert.

The Iverson brothers’ act appealed to Norwegian-Americans, but Slim Jim also sang a song in support of the Industrial Workers of the World, and they wrote several songs in the country-western tradition. One of The Vagabond Kid singles, “Can I Play My Guitar in Heaven?” was the subject of a parody itself on Cracker’s self titled debut album in 1992 (“Can I Take My Gun Up to Heaven?”).

Clarence Iverson returned to their hometown of Binford, North Dakota, but Ernest remained in Minnesota. He was buried in his wife’s hometown of Buffalo Lake.


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