Hank Snow - The Cremation of Sam Mcgee


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I once memorized this for a Phillip J Smith acting class delivered before an audience in May 1971. Leonard Peikoff was in the audience in a NYC hotel. I then went upstairs to a room I had rented so I wouldn't miss an Ayn Rand on TV delivering her get down on your knees and thank the dirtiest smokestack you can find animadversion upon environmentalism. She looked quite tired. It may have had something to do with the lousy TV reception, however. I doubt if a copy of this exists anywhere. The only Objectivist back then with a VCR would likely have been Henry Mark Holzer. He had one as early as 1971 or '72. I accidentally overheard him talking about it in a break in some Objectivist lecture in the Hotel New Yorker. (The VCR, not the Rand TV talk.) I'm pretty sure it was 1971.


I did a better job than Hank Snow for I didn't sing or semi-sing and my voice is rougher although nobody congratulated me on my effort--in fact, I don't think it went over too well--I didn't care; it was something of an ordeal for me and I was glad to get through it (Phil announced that this would be the culmination of that acting class after I signed up for it and I didn't like it for reasons I'll not go into here)--all the students had their time up on the stage

Wish I knew where and how Phil was--he'd be about 86 today if still alive--if still alive he's likely in NJ--I last saw him in 1986 in NYC when he and Kay came to see Barbara Branden on her Passion book tour (I hugged him and was shocked at how frail he seemed for someone in his mid-50s)

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Good grief, six degrees trump art and life everytime. Hank was probably the first singer I ever heard and I'm Movin On with its laconic edge, and his version of I Don't Hurt Anymore (also a great I Quit Smoking anthem) are still my karaoke craves. but don't tell anybody.

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Written by Robert W. Service. Sung by Hank Snow.


The last time I heard this poem was when my buddy and I read it aloud while standing on the "marge of Lake LeBarge" during a 2002 Yukon canoe trip from Whitehorse to Dawson City to prospect for gold! The 30 miles of Lake LeBarge is more dangerous than the 400 miles of Yukon river because it can get choppy quickly and swamp your canoe in its icy waters.

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