Archive for October, 2009

Fans will thrilled by the new format for the second Box Set from the Mother’s Best Flour shows to be released by Time Life on November 3rd.

The 3 CD package  has a similar appearance to the first ‘Unreleased Recordings’ 3CD set released  last year at this time.

The new release has more structure than last year. Instead of the songs being organized on the CDs more or less at random, the ‘Revealed’ set groups the songs according to themes. The first is called ‘The Hits Like Never Before’, the second ‘At the Cross’, and the third ‘Luke the Drifter’, not all originally Luke the Drifter releases I don’t think, but songs of a more philosophical bent.

In addition, at the end of each CD there is a complete show from the Mother’s Best radio series. This is a big improvement for the average listener,who will now get to hear the real Hank Williams live, revealed as a professional entertainer with a great personality, showing both his humorous and serious sides, and talking about his favorite songs.

Last year several complete shows were released on a separate album with the awkward title  ‘The Legendary Hank Williams Rare and on the Radio’ which was only available on line from Reader’s Digest.  I think for many fans it was likely very confusng, and I don’t imagine, although I stand to be corrected, that the Reader’s Digest effort really sold very many copies or did much to get the Hank Williams’ story out there.

Jett Williams, who is deeply involved in the production of these Mother’s Best Box Sets, says the ‘Revealed’ package offers something new:

To me, this is even more exciting than the first set because you get to hear my daddy talk and you get a sense of him, not just as an entertainer, but as a person. That’s why we called it REVEALED. The song selection is as strong as the first volume, but this time we’ve done three thematic CD’s.

Of course, as we all know from the first ‘Unreleased’ set the great thing is not only the Hank Williams personality revealed, and the new songs never commercialy available before, but even more important, the georgeous clarity and depth of the sound  which as many have said surpasses the immediacy and presence of the original MGM recordings.

One of the highlisghts of the new set is the first performance of ‘Cold Cold Heart’. This opens the first CD. In addition, the hits on  Disc 1 include upbeat classics such as ‘Move it on Over’, ‘Hey Good Lookin’ and ‘Mind Your own Business’. Some ballads on the hits disc are ‘Lonesome Whistle’, ‘They’ll Never Take Her Love From Me’ and ‘Mansion on the Hill’.

On Disc 2, called ‘At The Cross’,  there are several songs that the average fans may not have had access to before. These include, ‘That Beautiful Home’, ‘Lord Build me a Cabin in the Corner of Gloryland’, ‘Thirty Pieces of Silver’, ‘At The Cross’, and ‘Farther Along’.

Finally on Disc 3, ‘Luke the Drifter’, there are some classics such as ‘Everything’s OK’, ‘Just Waitin’ , ‘I’ve Just Told Mama Goodbye’, and ‘Faded Love and Winter Roses’. A country standard in spoken word, ‘Deck of Cards’ is also on this disc.

As I said, each CD ends with a complete Mother’s Best Flour Show. ‘Nobody’s  Lonesome For Me’, and ‘I Can’t Help It’ are included on these programs. The opening  theme is ‘Lovesick Blues’.

Time Life will also package single CD versions for release at WalMart and Barjan.

The release date at major  internet outlets for ‘Hank Williams Revealed (The Unreleased Recordings)’ is November 3rd. Of Course you can order now for November 3rd shipping.

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Wonderful news!

An essay on Hank Williams is featured as one of 216 in a new history of American literature from Harvard University Press. The ‘ A New Literary History of America’ was edited by Greil Marcus who is a well known writer on popular music topics, and Werner Sollars a professor at Harvard. They were assisted by a 12 member advisory board. The history covers the period from 1507  to 2008. Three other popular music figures are covered as well, Chuck Berry, Bob Dylan, and Billie Holiday, as well as early Jazz pioneer Jelly Roll Morton.

The essay focussing on Hank Williams is called ‘The Song in Country Music’. It is written by Dave Hickey, a noted arts and culture critic  and a Professor of English at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas. Hickey has written for major American magazines such as Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, and Harpers. He has been profiled and interviewed in a number of major newspapers such as the New York Times. He has  written several books including  ‘Air Guitar’, an examination of  23 love songs.

Hickey’s essay examines Hank Williams’ influence on later song writers.

I tackled this topic in an earlier post in which I discussed the Hank Williams’ rock masterpiece ‘Hey Good Lookin’ and the  influence of Hank Williams’ attitude and language on later  rock songwriters such as Buddy Holly and Chuck Berry. It’s here.

Among song writers  quoted by Hickey are Roger Miller, Willie Nelson, Billy Joe Shaver, Harlan Howard, and Waylon Jennings. They speak in detail about the specific elements of Hank’s work and specific passages that  inspired, and more importantly taught them about song writing. Maud Newton has an excerpt from the essay in her review here.

This is an emotional moving day for Hank Williams’ fans. Indeed it is one of the most significant events in the Hank Williams’ story. He truly is immortal now.

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