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Archive for July 25th, 2009

Thanks so much to Tom Baxter for sending a comment in the previous post on Paul Hemphill’s funeral. I’m sure Hemphill  wanted Hank at his funeral and his wishes were followed.

I will repeat the comment from Baxter here for those who didn’t see it below:

I attended Paul’s funeral here in Atlanta. As his friend Angelo Fuster announced it would be, it was a very unconventional affair, beginning with the Hank Williams recording of “I Saw the Light,” and ending with “Lovesick Blues.” The program also included a reading, by four old friends, of the section from “Lovesick Blues” in which he recounted a weeklong trip in 1949 with his trucker father. It’s a great passage and perhaps the best I know on the subject of what Hank Williams’ music meant to working class Southerners in those years.

 Hemphill spent a lifetime as a professional writer. He wrote numerous books of both fiction and non-fiction. Included were ‘The Nashville Sound’ and ‘Lovesick Blues: The Life of Hank Williams’. As I said earlier, he treated country music artists with respect, not ridicule. A book I haven’t read, ‘Leaving Birmingham’ is considered a seminal work on southern culture.

I thought in ‘Lovesick Blues’ Hemphill tried to improve the previously skewered balance between Hank’s personal life and his achievement as an artist toward the artistic side.

The passage mentioned by Baxter above is only matched by Rick Bragg’s wonderful essay in the liner notes of  ‘Hank Williams Live at the Grand Old Opry’.

Thanks once again for the contribution from Tom Baxter.

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