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Hank Williams pedal player Don Helms dies

Monday, August 11, 2008 – Don Helms, steel guitarist for Hank Williams' Drifting Cowboys, died this morning at 81. He is featured on more than 100 Williams recordings. Helms played a lap steel (also known as "Hawaiian steel") guitar. This type of steel guitar lacks the foot pedals found on the more modern pedal steel guitar, which did not come into prominence in country music until after Hank Williams' death in 1953.

Born in New Brockton, Ala., Helms also played steel guitar on Lefty Frizzell's recording of "Long Black Veil." In the late 1950s, he can be heard on two early Columbia Records recordings of Johnny Cash's, "The Fabulous Johnny Cash" and "Hymns By Johnny Cash."

In the mid-1960s Helms played in the Wilburn Brothers backup band, The Nashville Tennesseans. Helms later was in the touring version of the Drifting Cowboys, the backing band for Hank's daughter, Jett Williams.

Helms, who also played for Hank Jr., also enjoyed success as a songwriter. He penned Brenda Lee's first number one hit "Fool Number One" in exchange for getting Loretta Lynn a recording contract with Decca Records. He also wrote "The Ballad of Hank Williams," which he performed with Hank Jr. on "The Pressure Is On" LP Released in 1981.

More news for Hank Williams

CD reviews for Hank Williams

The Garden Spot Program 1950 CD review - The Garden Spot Program 1950
In a career that spanned a mere six years - a minuscule amount of time compared to those who are today celebrating anniversaries of 40, 50 or even 60 years of more - Hank Williams established himself as an abiding influence on all those who followed, a man whose music is as relevant and revered today as it was when it was originally recorded. Indeed, what Williams accomplished in that scant amount of time still resonates nearly 70 years later. There's been an abundance of compilations, »»»
The Lost Notebooks of Hank Williams CD review - The Lost Notebooks of Hank Williams
"The Lost Notebooks of Hank Williams" is a great story before you even start playing the music. Williams, according to the story, used to write down his lyric ideas in notebooks. When he died, there were four notebooks of unreleased or unperformed songs. Over the years, the notebooks remained in the possession of Williams' publishers Acuff-Rose and few knew of them. One who did, however, was longtime Nashville executive Mary Martin, who shepherded this project to its eventual light-of-day. »»»
Revealed The Unreleased Recordings CD review - Revealed The Unreleased Recordings
After his death in 1953, Hank Williams, became less a performer than a post-mortem brand name wherein his basic personality as an artist was increasingly downplayed and diminished. This remarkably enjoyable three-CD set, drawn from warmly remastered acetates - featuring occasional surface noise - of the old Mother's Best radio show, showcases much of that nearly lost essence. Supported by his regular collaborators the Drifting Cowboys, Williams brings surprising drive to live renditions his »»»
Editorial: Walking the talk – When names like Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Waylon and the Hag are invoked, you're talking hard core country. These are the touchstones of country , the guys who made country music what it was and still is (or maybe can be). When these folks would sing about being down-and-out and the rough-and-tumble, they knew of what they were singing about. Fast forward a few years to the country singers of today. »»»
Concert Review: Bentley brings the A-listers – Dierks Bentley's Valentine's Day "Burning Man World 2019 Tour" stop celebrated his album, "The Mountain," one of his best full-lengths to date. That album's so good, in fact, one was left wishing he'd included even more of it in his setlist. Those album tracks he did sing, though, stood up well among his many hits.... »»»
Concert Review: Lula Wiles is on the verge – Lula Wiles is on the verge. This three-piece folk-Americana band composes and performs music with skill and assurance. This vibrant listening room venue allowed them to display their talent before a full house. Isa Burke, Eleanor Buckland and Mali Obomsawin comprise Lula Wiles. From Burke's opening electric guitar riffs through an acoustic... »»»
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