Archive for December 11th, 2008

National Public Radio did a 15 minute program on Hank Williams  The Unreleased Recordings back on October 25th. I’m finally getting around to putting up the link.

The segment was part of Weekend Edition hosted by Scott Simon and featured comments from Jett Williams and highlights  from the Box Set.

Simon is s devoted fan and some of his comments are delightful. Jett Williams talks about the difference in sound quality from the MGM studio recordings, and the vocal quality on these radio acetates from WSM. Of course the MGM sessions were also recorded direct to disk so to speak on acetates. Jett says the studio recordings were not pure direct to disk but the sound was altered by limiters and compressors such as are used by recording studios and radio stations.

I always thought the Castle recordings were pure, but it certainly would be interesting to hear more about the recording technology used those days before tape came in. What were the differences between WSM recordings and Castle Studios? Were the ‘Health and Happiness’ shows recorded on the same equipment at Castle? Obviously, I don’t know much about this!

There’s more from Jett at the link, go to listen now button in upper left.


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The New York Times has handed out another rave review of   ‘The Unreleased Recordings’. This one came in a November 27th article on Box Sets for Christmas giving. Several of the top Box Sets of 2008 were reviewed. Here’s the complete article on Hank Williams:

HANK WILLIAMS, ‘THE UNRELEASED RECORDINGS’ Many of Hank Williams’s studio records were nearly perfect, and his voice-and-guitar demos have a trudging, spooky power. But this is something new: three hours’ worth of radio performances with his band, recorded for 15-minute spots on the Nashville station WSM in 1951, at Williams’s commercial peak and before his health turned. (About a year later he would be dead.) Upbeat, he calls out to soloists in his band with satisfaction and pours himself into the performance. His wife Audrey, talentless at singing, is not here: a big plus. The repertory forms a trustworthy picture of his sound world: not just his own songs but white and black gospel, cowboy tunes, obscure contemporary nothings (“You Blotted My Happy Schooldays”), a weirdly breathtaking “On Top of Old Smoky.” And his voice! These recordings get the fullness and breadth of it, the cool, plummy croon turning to a hot laser through some trick of throat and nose. Truly one of the best records ever. (Time-Life, three CDs, $39.98.) BEN RATCLIFF



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