Archive for Hank Williams

Rock and Roll Remembrance

Posted in Rock Moment with tags , , , , , , , on May 2, 2012 by 30daysout

We’ve lost a lot of great rock and rollers lately. It seems we hardly catch our breath after one is laid to rest, then we hear of another that’s about to leave us. That’s the way it is – our heroes are getting older every day.

So today let’s blow it out with some tunes from rockers who’ve passed to the other side. R.I.P., and keep on rockin’.

MP3: “I’m Losing You” (alternate version) by John Lennon (d. 1980)

MP3: “Holy Diver” (live) by Dio (Ronnie James Dio, d. 2010)

MP3: “Smokestack Lightning” by Howlin’ Wolf (d. 1976)

MP3: “Piece Of My Heart” by Big Brother & the Holding Company (Janis Joplin, d. 1970)

MP3: “Texas Tornado” by the Sir Douglas Quintet (Doug Sahm, d. 1999)

MP3: “Ella Guru” by Captain Beefheart (d. 2010)

MP3: “I’d Rather Go Blind” by Etta James (d. 2012)

MP3: “Lonely Lover” by Marvin Gaye (d. 1984)

MP3: “Small Town Talk” by Bobby Charles (d. 2010)

MP3: “Star Spangled Banner/Purple Haze” (live at Woodstock) by Jimi Hendrix (d. 1970)

MP3: “I’ll Never Get Out Of This World Alive” by Hank Williams (d. 1953)

MP3: “Deep Blue” by George Harrison (d. 2001)

YouTube: “Up On Cripple Creek” (1969 rehearsal), by the Band (Levon Helm, d. 2012; Rick Danko, d. 1999; Richard Manuel, d. 1986)

Rock and Roll Graveyard, Part 2

Posted in Rock Moment with tags on December 29, 2010 by 30daysout

Hank Williams, the original

In the early morning hours of New Year’s Day, 1953, a baby blue Cadillac convertible pulled into a drive-in restaurant in rural West Virginia.  The 17-year-old driver of the car went into the restaurant and emerged seconds later with an older man.  The older man looked into the back seat of the Cadillac and told the driver, “I think you have a problem.”

The driver sped on down the road to nearby Oak Hill, where he asked for help at a gas station.  A few minutes later, doctors in the town’s hospital pronounced country singer Hank Williams dead.

Hank Williams Sr., also known as Luke the Drifter, Hank 1, Hank Sr. or just plain Hank, is perhaps one of the greatest singer/songwriters of all time.  The songs he recorded in his short career – many of which he wrote – are part of the foundation of American popular culture and have been remade countless times by country, rock, gospel and blues artists.  To this day, Hank Williams is still reverentially remembered by many in Nashville.

At the time of his death, Williams was being driven to a New Year’s Day concert date in Canton, Ohio.  He began the final journey of his life in Knoxville, Tennessee, when foggy conditions grounded his flight to Ohio.  Charles Carr, a college student, was hired to be the driver.  Before leaving the hotel in Knoxville, Williams apparently injected himself with painkillers and vitamin B-12 and Carr enlisted the help of hotel porters to literally carry the singer out to his car.  Many people believe the singer may have already been dead at this point.

After driving nearly 300 miles through much of the night, Carr wheeled into the parking lot of the Skyline Drive-In and he noticed the singer’s coat had slipped off his skinny shoulders.  When he went to adjust the coat, Carr realized something was seriously wrong.  Hank Williams’ mother went to Oak Hill to claim the body and make the final arrangements for the singer’s final journey home to Montgomery, Alabama, where he is buried.

Many of the details surrounding Hank Williams’ death have melted away into legend.  There are mysteries, of course – like what happened to some of the singer’s possessions that he carried in his car?  People in Oak Hill bragged years later that they had Williams’ cowboy hat, or his guitar, or his boots.  Apparently some of this stuff, including Williams’ pearl-handled .45 pistol, disappeared while his car was being stored at the gas station.

One story goes that the station’s manager at the time was later seen wearing Williams’ cowboy hat.  When a deputy sheriff went to retrieve the hat, the gas station manager said it was given to him by Williams’ mother.  Later, however, the guy told people the hat was cursed because his hair started falling out.  Some years went by, and the guy committed suicide behind the gas station.

Upon his death Hank Williams received an outpouring of love, contrasting sharply with the hard-luck misery that characterized the final year of his life.  He was kicked out of his house by his wife Audrey and he was fired from the Grand Ole Opry for failing to appear at Opry-organized gigs.  In fact, he was so unreliable at this point that Williams could only book beer halls in Louisiana and Texas; when he died Williams had been booked for four shows in two days.  Hank was in horrible health, and his physical problems were only made worse by a bogus doctor he hired to give him dangerous drugs.

Hank Williams only helped his legendary status by dying young.  He always did have this eerie timing: his last hit while he was alive was “I’ll Never Get Out Of This World Alive” and the song he was writing the night he died was “Then Came That Fateful Day.”  He set the blueprint for songwriting, a deeply personal style mimicked by giants like John Lennon and Bob Dylan, and became an icon of American music.

MP3: “I’ll Never Get Out Of This World Alive”

MP3: “Take These Chains From My Heart”

MP3: “Lost Highway”

MP3: “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry”

MP3: “Your Cheatin’ Heart”

MP3: “I Saw The Light”

Horrible Athlete Song of the Day: “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” by Terry Bradshaw

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on June 18, 2010 by 30daysout

Former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Terry Bradshaw was in the middle of a Hall of Fame career when he decided to take up country music. I remember as a kid seeing his single in a jukebox and thinking it had to be a joke. I will admit his take on the Hank Williams ditty is better than most athletes, but it’s still hard to listen to. In this video he looks scared to death, but you’ve got to dig the outfit. Pure 70s schmaltz. Up next…Neion Deion Sanders..

Rock and Roll Recipe: Gumbo Time

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 22, 2008 by 30daysout


Ooh, baby, it’s cold outside!  In Texas that means it’s about 53 degrees, and a warm front is going to blow back from the Gulf tomorrow, kickin’ everything up to about 75.   Hey, we take what winter we can get.  Anyway, let’s dig out a deep pot and make some gumbo today.

Gumbo is, of course, that stew-like dish popular in South Louisiana and crummy restaurants across the country.  Although it apparently originated in New Orleans, gumbo is most closely associated with the Cajuns of South Louisiana – like my mother from Catahoula and my dad from Cecilia.  Those folks used to make gumbo that was thicker than Atchafalaya Basin swamp water.  I don’t know how they did it – our good friend Dr. Michael DeBakey (from Lake Charles, La.) used to insist the secret to good, thick gumbo was okra.  And he lived to be 99 years old and was pretty much always right, so who knows?

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A Dozen Country Classics

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on November 18, 2008 by 30daysout


So I’m sitting here thinking, “what kind of post would be good to follow a review of Madonna’s concert?”  Of course – country music!  One dozen of the best, coming right up. 

MP3: “It’s Been So Long Darling” by Ernest Tubb

MP3: “Walkin’ After Midnight” by Patsy Cline

MP3: “Cold, Cold Heart” by Hank Williams

MP3: “Swinging Doors” by Merle Haggard

MP3: “I Want To Be A Cowboy’s Sweetheart” by Patsy Montana

MP3: “Tennessee Flat Top Box” by Johnny Cash

MP3: “Coal Miner’s Daughter” by Loretta Lynn

MP3: “Long Black Veil” by Lefty Frizzell

MP3: “Act Naturally” by Buck Owens

MP3: “He Stopped Loving Her Today” by George Jones

MP3: “Stand By Your Man” by Tammy Wynette

MP3: “New San Antonio Rose” by Bob Wills & the Texas Playboys