By Bruce Sylvester
Transcriptions of Hank Williams‘ 1951 radio show languished in limbo for decades – at first because the tapes apparently were forgotten and then due to a court battle over their ownership. Here’s the background: In ’51, the king of country music had a 15-minute weekday-morning radio show sponsored by Mother’s Best Flour. Many of the broadcasts were prerecorded on acetate, which captured the human spirit better than the magnetic tape used in most sessions.
In recent years, the tapes have emerged in various forms, peaking in 15-CD Hank Williams: The Complete Mother’s Best Recordings… Plus (Time Life, 2010), presenting 72 shows in their entirety, including joking, instrumental numbers by his band The Drifting Cowboys, ads for Mother’s Best, and the standard intro and outro. On Feb. 7 2020, BMG will release Hank Williams: Pictures from Life’s Other Side, six CDs of 144 Hank vocals on the transcriptions. On each show, he sang a gospel number and, earlier, a country or folk song — often one of his own hits (“Move It On Over,” “Dear John”) or on occasion someone else’s single (“Tennessee Border,” “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain”). He always seemed to shine in the recording studio, no matter how bad his physical health or marriage to Miss Audrey, whose cruelties inspired pain-drenched classics like “Cold, Cold Heart” and “I Can’t Help It (if I’m Still in Love with You). Of course, he could exude fun too (“Hey, Good Lookin’”). This box has his only known recordings of quite a few songs.
The package comes with a 272-page hardbound book including recently discovered photos of him from sources such as the private collections of his late contemporaries Hank Thompson and Little Jimmy Dickens.
Serious Hankoholics, take note.
Pre-order at the link below and receive a FREE bonus 7”: