News / Arts & Entertainment

    Hank Williams' 1950 Radio Performances Released

    Katherine Cole
    It’s been more than 60 years since Country music star Hank Williams died. But his songs -- including “Cold Cold Heart,” “Hey Good Lookin’” and “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” -- are still influencing songwriters in Nashville and beyond.  Some of Williams’ 1950 radio performances have just been unearthed, giving fans something new to enjoy.

    Back in the 1950s in the United States, it wasn’t uncommon for a company to buy a block of 15 minutes or more on regional radio stations for their own entertainment show, putting the name of their product in the title. That’s what Naughton Farms of Waxahachie, Texas did in 1950, when they produced the “Garden Spot Programs."
     
    Country music artist Hank Williams in an undated photo released by the Country Music Hall of Fame.Country music artist Hank Williams in an undated photo released by the Country Music Hall of Fame.
    x
    Country music artist Hank Williams in an undated photo released by the Country Music Hall of Fame.
    Country music artist Hank Williams in an undated photo released by the Country Music Hall of Fame.

    Each 15-minute show started with Williams singing a jingle advertising the company, followed by a bit of chat with the program’s host. Hearing her father laughing and talking has excited the late singer’s daughter Jett Williams almost more than hearing him sing.

    “My dad died five days before I was born," she said. "To actually hear your parent’s voice and hear them laugh and talk and tell a joke, it just gives you that closeness that’s a gift.”

    Those radio programs have been gathered together into a new CD collection co-produced by Williams biographer Colin Escott, who won two Grammys for "The Complete Hank Williams" boxed set in 1999.

    Escott didn’t go looking for the Garden Spot sessions, he just happened upon them.

    “It was sitting in a radio station in Creston, Iowa. That kind of is like sitting under a bed somewhere…These shows were sent out to, I don’t know, probably hundreds of stations, but it seems that just the copies that went out to KSIB in Creston, Iowa survived," he said. "Sixty years later, they still sounded pretty good. We got the engineer to take out pops and ticks and crackles and it sounds like they were recorded yesterday.”
     
    Hank Williams' 1950 Radio Performances Released
    Hank Williams' 1950 Radio Performances Releasedi
    || 0:00:00
    ...    
     
    X

    The well-known recording of Williams singing ‘Lovesick Blues,’ is one song featured on the new collection of long-lost live broadcasts.

    “I’ve heard that song so many times and here Hank is playing with a different band. It just sounds so different," Escott said. "It’s kind of like I get to hear it for the first time again.

    Williams had a short, but brilliant career: he died 61 years ago at the age of 29. He only recorded 66 songs under his own name…and an incredible 37 of them became hits. Escott says the songs aren’t the only reason there’s still so much interest in the Country music star.

    “In part because he didn’t live long enough to make any bad records, that’s certainly part of it," he said. "He was like the first ‘live fast, love hard, die young’ rock and roller. And he just wrote so, so many great songs in such a short period of time. And he sang them with this riveting intensity, you know? You listen to these shows and they’re trapped in 1950. But the way Hank sings, it’s just timeless.”

    The set captures Williams at the top of his game. In 1950, he was a huge star, in good health, headlining the Grand Ole Opry and freshly back from a tour in Europe, playing for troops serving overseas. "The Garden Spot Programs" bring him to life in a way that studio recordings never could.

    You May Like

    Can EU Survive a Brexit?

    Across Europe politicians are asking if the British vote to leave the European Union will set in motion dynamics that will see other member states leave too

    Video Entrepreneurs Tackle Sexual Harassment, Rural Health Care at Global Summit

    VOA talks to enterprising business people from India, Nigeria, Myanmar about their programs to help their respective countries overcome obstacles

    Key African Anti-Venom About to Permanently Run Out

    The tale of Fav-Afrique’s demise is a complicated one that reflects a deeper crisis brewing in global public health

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Britain’s Vote to Leave EU Sends Shockwaves Through Global Marketsi
    X
    June 24, 2016 10:43 AM
    Britain’s historic decision to leave the European Union is sending shockwaves through global markets. Markets from Tokyo to Europe tumbled Friday under the uncertainty the ballot brings, while regional leaders in Asia took steps to limit the possible fallout. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Britain’s Vote to Leave EU Sends Shockwaves Through Global Markets

    Britain’s historic decision to leave the European Union is sending shockwaves through global markets. Markets from Tokyo to Europe tumbled Friday under the uncertainty the ballot brings, while regional leaders in Asia took steps to limit the possible fallout. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.
    Video

    Video During Ramadan, Faith and Football Converge in Lebanon’s Megadome

    In Beirut, a group of young entrepreneurs has combined its Muslim faith and love of football to create the city's newest landmark: a large, Ramadan-ready dome primed for one of the biggest football (soccer) tournaments in the world. But as the faithful embrace the communal spirit of Islam’s holy month, it is not just those breaking their fasts that are welcome.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora

    New in Music Alley

    Take It From The Top: Stanley Jordani
    || 0:00:00
    ...  
     
    X
    May 17, 2016 5:01 PM
    Jazz fusion artist, Stanley Jordan is known for his touch technique which allows him to play melodies and chords simultaneously. He can also play two different guitars or a guitar and piano at the same time.

    Jazz fusion artist, Stanley Jordan is known for his touch technique which allows him to play melodies and chords simultaneously.  He can also play two different guitars or a guitar and piano at the same time.

     

     

     

     

    Blogs

    African Music Treasures