Hank Thompson took the sound of his favourite artists Ernest Tubb and Gene Autry, added in a swinging band, wrote some catchy songs and delivered them in his distinctive baritone voice – a winning combination. He was born today in 1925.
Country singer/guitarist Henry William Thompson aka Hank Thompson born, Waco, Texas, USA. With a style variously described as a swing, hillbilly or honky tonk, seven decades in the music business render any labels redundant though and simply confer legendary status.
Fronting The Brazos Valley Boys and clad in extravagant Nudie suits, Hank’s forte was what ‘The Washington Post’ called, “upbeat music about beer drinking and broken hearts”. Be it his classic “Six Pack to Go”, a highly successful rendition of “The Wild Side of Life” or a whole album, titled “On Tap, In the Can, Or in the Bottle”.
Featuring the picking guitar style of Merle Travis on many of his most memorable studio recordings and with his trademark baritone vocals to the fore, Hank remained an active fixture on the live circuit in the USA and continued to enjoy entries in the country charts.
Lung cancer would claim him at the age of 82 in 2007, with what proved to be his final live show coming barely a month before his death, playing in his home town to celebrate the newly-christened Hank Thompson day (October 8th).
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And here’s some footage of Hank in action: