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Archive for July, 2012

Time Life will release two live Hank Williams’ concerts on CD in October.

One of these is the famous Sunset Park concert recorded in West Grove Pennsylvania in July 1952. This concert has been available on some websites featuring rare material, and was on You Tube until quite recently.

The second concert was recorded at Niagara Falls New York in April 1952.

The CD will also include a radio interview recorded in Spetember 1951.

The CD will officially be called: Hank Williams: The Lost Concerts Limited Collector’s Edition

Here are the track listing I took from American Songwriter website.

Niagara Falls, New York: April 25, 1952.

1.      Comedy with Hank and the Drifting Cowboys
2.      I Can’t Help It
3.      Jerry Rivers and the Drifting Cowboys: Orange Blossom Special
4.      Why Don’t You Love Me
5.      Are You Walking and A Talking
6.      The Funeral
7.      Hey Good Looking
8.      Cold, Cold Heart
9.      Lovesick Blues

Sunset Park, West Grove, PA: July 13, 1952.

10.  Introductions
11.  Hey Good Looking
12.  Comedy with Hank and the Drifting Cowboys
13.  Jerry Rivers and the Drifting Cowboys: Fire On The Mountain
14.  Lonesome Whistle
15.  Jambalaya
16.  Long Gone Lonesome Blues
17.  Half As Much
18.  I Saw The Light
19.  Lovesick Blues
20.  Interview: Hank interviewed by Mack Sanders, KFBI, Wichita, Kansas, September 14, 1951.

Thanks to Tom Lipscombe for heads up on this story.
Time Life is really big important corporation and they would never bother keeping a little blog up to date on what they are doing even though it has enthusiastically supported its previous Hank Williams’ releases and brought information about their projects to thousands  of readers.
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With ‘The Last Ride’ now having opened in some major centers including New York, reviews seem largely negative but there is one  genuine rave from a respected film critic which I have saved to the end..

Writers are quite dismissive of the script which many think, in the words of Andrew Lapin at National Public Radio is “short on actual information about Hank Williams”, and makes “Hank Williams takes a back seat” in the film. Pretty tough from an organization that is usually a Hank booster.

In a magazine called ‘Film Journal’ Daniel Egan says the “film doesn’t have much of interest about the singer”. And ‘Village Voices’ Mark Holcombe says the movie has “taken liberties with the facts”.

These writers are all concerned, along with I suppose many true Hank Williams’ fans, that the main story is really fictionalized. For example, the character who is the young teenage driver on the fatal trip  doesn’t know who Hank Williams is. There is a way too much attention on that character, played by Jesse James, according to a lot of critics. ‘The New York Times’ Jeannette Catsoulis goes so far as to call it a “low budget road movie”.

Another strong criticism and  all and  writers just hate this,it that no actual Hank Williams’ recordings are used anywhere in the movie. You never hear his voice. The soundtrack, they say, is mediocre and therefore the movie fails to explain who Hank Williams is, and how an important figure in American musical history he has become.

On the positive side, most of the reviewers I have read so far have very positive things to say about Henry Thomas’ portrayal of Hank Williams which clearly rises far above the rest of the movie and makes the best of the  weak script.

But there is one movie critic and a pretty important one who must have made the producers overjoyed. Rex Reed a famous film reviewer writing in ‘The New York Observer’ calls Thomas’ performance  “a star performance and a poignant experience”. He calls it a “fascinating film, satisfying and sincere”. But he also says the producers should have used original Hank Williams recordings.

Here are a couple of longer quotes to give you the tone of Reed’s rave review.

The Last Ride, carefully directed by Harry Thomason and skillfully written with chords and spaces for humming and breathing by Howie Klausner and Dub Cornett, hauntingly and sensitively negotiates the final three days in the life and death of a legendary character of mythic proportions, warts and all.

 The review ends with this paragraph:
Still, it’s a fascinating film that I enjoyed thoroughly. The Last Ride doesn’t come with a break-the-bank budget and full-page marketing displays, but it is well worth looking for if you’re in the mood for a movie that is captivating, an evocation of a time when the South and its music were on the cusp of change, and just a little bit different. It’s satisfying and sincere in ways most of the big-budget junk currently taking up space on summer marquees never dreamed of.

I should say that Reed accepts more of the script as being factual than some of the other critics. But beyond any doubt this is the best written review I have seen so far. The use of a quote from ‘I’m so Lonesome I Could Cry’ in the ‘New York Observer’ headline is heartbreaking.

Here is his full review. 

Here’s a direct quote from the movie that a lot of true Hank Williams’s fans will understand and appreciate. About his career and fame, the script writers have Hank say: “Not a damn bit of it matters for nothin.”

Here’s the movie website.

And finally here is a complete list of the many, many, many, posts about ‘The Last Ride’ on this humble little blog.

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