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Archive for November, 2012

As I was discussing in Part 1, there is very little video of Hank Williams performing with live audio. The only readily accessible songs come from the Kate Smith Show in 1952. They are ‘Hey Good Lookin’, ‘Cold, Cold Heart’, and ‘I Can’t Help It If I’m Still in Love with You’. There is film without sound of Hank walking around and some of performance without sound.

The accessibility of video has been made much more difficult especially for newcomers by the ill-conceived practice of using the limited video available from Kate Smith and dubbing the recordings of other songs over the existing video. This is a stupid idea. It does absolutely nothing to further or enhance Hank Williams’ legacy or reputation. The dubbing is so poorly done  it makes the performer  look like he can’t get the words straight, since his  lips don’t sync with the words, and the expressions don’t fit with the sentiments in the recording. Seeing one of these would be enough to drive a newcomer to Hank Williams away, and he or she might never return.

The absolute worst case of this occurred in the 90’s when a newly discovered recording called ‘There’s a Tear in My Beer’ was dubbed over one of the Kate Smith videos and then Hank Williams Junior foolishly allowed himself to be taped in the same picture doing a so-called “duet” with his father. What a sad day that was.

Hank’s performance of ‘Cold, Cold Heart’ on Kate Smith is a masterpiece. Although not much more than 6 months from death and suffering from excruciating back pain after surgery in December, Hank delivers every word of this masterpiece at the peak of his powers. There is a point in this video at the end when the camera comes right in close and Hank looks straight into the lens  and he knows Audrey is back home watching and he just lays it out with  devastating force. The woman could never have been the same after that night.

Here it is:

Many would say ‘I Can’t Help It if I’m Still in Love with You’ is Hank’s greatest. It’s one of his masterpieces of concise poignant language, and the creation of images and situations which say more than words and stay with you forever: “Today I passed you on the street, And my heart fell at your feet”.

This video is very short. Obviously this song had to be cut to face the time restraints of live TV. It’s a duet with the magnificent Anita Carter with her  pure beautiful voice and expression. Many will recall that later she became a frequent duet partner with Hank Snow and they produced many memorable recordings.

The song begins with Anita alone, then Hank comes on the set and sings ‘Someone new stood by your side and he looked so satisfied’. I’ve always thought this was one of the most beautifully delivered lines in the Hank Williams’ canon.

This video was made about 8 months from Hank’s death. Notice as he comes into view, you can see how thin he is, as his left shoulder-blade almost seems visible under his shirt.

As mentioned Hank sang in group settings at the Kate Smith Show. You can easily find the closing cast rendition of ‘I Saw the Light’ on You Tube.

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One of the unfortunate aspects of the Hank Williams story following his death is the discovery realization that there is almost no video of Hank Williams in performance.

Ironically, because he made a movie short in the early thirties we have some excellent very clear video and audio of Jimmie Rodgers, even though he died 20 years before Hank Williams. And there is a lot  of video of Hank Williams’ contemporaries such as Hank Snow, and Left Frizzel recorded on TV shows which  were up and running by the early to mid fifties.

Hank Williams video with real live sound is sadly limited to his two appearances on the Kate Smith Show from New York in March and April 1952. Film of an earlier appearance on the Perry Como show may exist but has not surfaced for public consumption. And he also appeared on WSM TV in Nashville but apparently  video has been destroyed or just not shared.  You have to remember that TV at that time would have been like radio and simply sent out on the airwaves with no back up.

The Kate Smith kinescopes, in which a film camera records off a TV screen, contain only 2 songs with Hank performing alone, ‘Hey Good Lookin’ and ‘Cold, Cold Heart, plus one stunning never to be forgotten duet with Anita Carter on ‘I Can’t Help it if I’m Still in Love with You’. Finally, the Grand Old Opry cast including Hank sing ‘I Saw The Light’, and ‘Glory Bound Days’.

On this post, I am putting up a long clip of 6 minutes or so featuring June Carter because  I’m sure many of you would love to see her  as a young woman in 1952 many years before her long marriage to Johnny Cash. Hank comes in at about the 4 minute mark.

Finally I want to note that I fully realize that Hank Williams fans of long-standing are fully aware of these videos and have watched them many times.

But by far the majority of visitors to this site come from search engines and may be looking for Hank for the first time. We so desperately need  a new generation of Hank Williams fans. I try not to assume that young people know any of a the background. Seeing these videos for the first time here on this site could be a moving and life altering experience.

I will post more videos in Part 2.

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I see there is audio of the Sunset Park Pennsylvania Hank Williams concert up on You Tube again. This 30 minute taping only 5 and  a half months from his death shows Hank in great form with lots of witty little asides and his powerful, at his best, singing voice.  However the vocals are diminished by  poor recording quality, obviously done on amateur equipment.

This recording was on You Tube earlier but disappeared around the time Time Life was announcing the release of the ‘Lost Recordings’ CD. That CD came out in mid October and also contains a live recording made in Niagara Falls New York around the same time. That one isn’t on You Tube.

Time Life doesn’t send me any information on any of their Hank Williams releases so I am quite happy to post this recording. However, I imagine once  thousands? of visitors start rushing to the site, it will come down again. Enjoy.

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Ray Price update

Here is a new less optimistic update on Ray Price today OCT 17, 2013:

 

It’s a note posted on his Facebook page

 

 

Hello Friends,
Just wanted to give you an update on Ray. Last night Ray developed SEPSIS, a bad bacteria infection in his blood line. We rushed him to the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit and treatment was started. Rays blood pressure dropped too low and his heart rate too high. We were in watchful crisis all night long and through out early morning hours before he stabilized. Dr. Red Duke is here in charge and coordinating all of the Specialists treating Ray. I am at Rays bedside and have not left him for a second. I will continue to be ever watchful and give updates as Ray continues to improve.

Please remember Ray in your prayers tonight.
Blessings To All!
Janie Price

 

Not so good news this time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some good news regarding Ray Price, an update from the newspaper article I referred to earlier.

This comes from a friend  of his Marty Martel in Nashville.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

RAY PRICE

http://jaydeanhcr.files.wordpress.com/2011/01/1205rayprice.jpg

(Nashville, TN-11.7.12) Ray Price, legendary Hall of Famer and no doubt the greatest singer that country music has ever known, is a dear, dear friend of mine, so I am sending this press release out to everyone to let you know, that Ray’s cancer is in remission and has not grown.   I ask you to keep Ray in your prayers that the cancer stays in remission as he continues touring with his Cherokee Cowboys Band.”

If you know Ray is going to be appearing in your area make a point of going to the show, and I promise you that you will enjoy one of the finest shows you have ever seen.”

Ray will be heading to Nashville this month to begin recording “Love Songs,” his first album since 2007.  He is excited about this new project and there is no one better to sing love songs, then Ray Price.

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Ray Price seriously ill

A friend and fellow performer with Hank Williams, Ray Price, has pancreatic cancer. Price was born in 1926. He lived with Hank and performed as his warm up act in 1952.

After Hank’s death Price was a big time traditional country stylist with many big hits. In the wake of rock Price moved into a more pop ballad singer role and became one the best with hits such as ‘For the Good Times’ a Kris Kristofferson song.

In his mid to later years he was an equal with performers such as Tony Bennett, Andy Williams, and Perry Como. But he continued to perform his original country hits such as ‘Crazy Arms’ and ‘Heartaches by the Number’.

Here’s an article with more information.

A while ago I posted another article which included Ray Price memories of Hank.

Here it is.

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