Monday, November 25, 2019
– An extensive six-CD collection of 144 songs from Hank Williams radio recordings will be released on Feb. 7, 2020 on BMG. The release will also include a boo of photographs.
"Hank Williams: Pictures From Life's Other Side - The Man and His Music in Rare Photos and Recordings" represents the complete rundown of Williams' performances from the existing transcription discs. This is said to be the first collection to gather the entirety of Williams' Mother's Best performances and presents them outside the context of self-contained radio programs.
Williams was a star of WSM's Grand Ole Opry when he began hosting his own radio show for the same station in 1951. Sponsored by Mother's Best Flour Company, the 15-minute broadcasts aired every weekday. But there was a problem: Williams was wildly popular and his aggressive touring schedule meant he couldn't always be at the station to perform the show live. Many of the broadcasts were actually pre-recorded transcription discs that were aired and then forgotten. The discs were re-discovered decades later as they were being hauled to a dumpster.
The find more than doubled the number of known Hank Williams recordings.
The compilation was produced by Cheryl Pawelski, and each track was restored and remastered by Michael Graves. Together, they earned Best Historical Album Grammy award for their work on Hank Williams' "The Garden Spot Programs, 1950" compilation in 2015.
The recordings are packaged in a slipcase with a book that chronicles Williams' career in photographs. With the assistance from Scott B. Bomar and Williams photo collector Ken Campanile, the 272-page hardbound volume was assembled by leading Williams expert Colin Escott, who wrote the definitive biography of the American music icon and has won two Grammy awards for Best Historical Album for his production work on previous key Williams releases. Williams' daughter, Jett Williams, contributed a touching foreword that sets the tone for the collection of images.
To gather the photos, the team coordinated with Marty Stuart's Congress of Country Music, the Grand Ole Opry Archives, the Center for Popular Music at Middle Tennessee State University, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, the production company behind Ken Burns' "Country Music" documentary, and various Williams fans and historians. They uncovered unseen images from the estates of other country stars of the day, including photos that had been saved by Hank Thompson, as well as fellow Grand Ole Opry star Little Jimmy Dickens. The Dickens collection includes two rare color slides of Williams. Other color photos that were unearthed include a trio of images of Williams at the Sunset Park in Pennsylvania and a photo of Williams in bed recovering from back surgery.