“Just a deck of cards and a jug of wine, And a woman’s lies make a life like mine”. Come join us on Proper’s lost highway, as we celebrate the birthday of honky tonk hero, Hank Williams.
Country superstar Hiram King Williams aka Hank Williams born, Mount Olive, Alabama, USA. As a teenager living in Montgomery, Alabama, Hank began by playing on a local radio station and on the live circuit with his band, the Drifting Cowboys.
Building his reputation as a talented performer (and a hard drinker with consequent unreliability issues), Hank’s career took off when signing with music publishers Acuff-Rose in 1946, leading to his first studio recordings.
Still drinking heavily, Hank joined Saturday night radio programme ‘Louisiana Hayride’ and after numerous false starts, enjoyed massive single success with “Lovesick Blues” in 1949.
That led to his Grand Old Opry debut and gave him more control over his musical direction resulting in more maudlin tunes such as “Cold, Cold Heart”, the eerily prescient “I’ll Never Get Out of This World Alive” and the glorious anguish of “My Son Calls Another Man Daddy”.
As 1952 became 1953 though, Williams passed away in the back of his Cadillac, somewhere on the road between Tennessee and West Virginia. The official cause of death was heart failure – at the age of just 29, his body was simply unable to cope with his lifestyle.
A wasted life in many ways, but one which harvested a rich crop of timeless material, whose influence can still be heard today – there’s scarcely a contemporary country artist who hasn’t delved into his back catalogue at some point, or appropriated his subjects or stylings.
When asked in 2009 to give advice to aspiring songwriters, Tom Russell replied, “Go get a job in a bar and learn 10 Hank Williams songs.”
Check out and purchase Hank Williams CDs from our e-shop, Propermusic.com by clicking on the logo below:
And here’s some footage of Hank in action: