Motherlode of unreleased Hank Williams recordings coming
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Motherlode of unreleased Hank Williams recordings coming

Friday, May 23, 2008 – Hank Williams may have died 55 years ago, but a motherload of unreleased songs - 143 - will be released by Time Life starting this fall. Time Life is releasing the material, known as the "Mother's Best" recordings, under an exclusive agreement with Jett Williams and Hank Williams Jr. The 143 recordings will be released as installments over a three-year period with the first installment due this fall. When the Time Life series is complete it will increase the number of known Williams' recordings by 50 percent.

The 143 recordings are from a radio series sponsored by a milling company in 1951. The show went out every morning at 7:15 a.m., and when Hank was scheduled to be out of town, he would prerecord the show. If you weren't listening to early morning radio in mid-Tennessee in 1951, you've never heard this music from the 72. He performs with his band, and the sound quality is favorably compared to his studio recordings, according to the publicist for the project.

The shows were recorded on 16-inch acetate discs that were shelved after the series ended and were almost thrown into the trash. They were salvaged by an employee of WSM before being given to the Hank Williams estate. The estate then fought an eight-year battle to establish sole ownership.

In 1951, Williams was at the pinnacle of his career as several top pop vocalists, including Tony Bennett and Perry Como, covered his mega-hit, "Cold, Cold Heart." He also appeared on major national television shows including The Perry Como Show and the last great medicine show, the Hadacol Caravan, where he topped the bill over Bob Hope and Milton Berle. Those appearances transformed Williams from a regional country artist into a national icon.

These recordings capture a side of Williams' personality that has never been presented to his current day fans. It showcases his humorous side as he jokes with his band and the emcee and talks about his favorite songs, whether written by himself or others. The set includes 40 songs that he was never known to have performed as well as many other songs that he didn't record commercially. These include "Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain," "Cherokee Boogie," and "The Blind Child."

"This is truly a unique moment in music history," said Mike Jason, Time Life, Senior Vice President, Audio & Video Retail. "Finding these once-in-a-lifetime recordings is comparable to discovering a closet full of unreleased Beatles' or Elvis Presley songs."

"This treasure trove of music will introduce my daddy to a whole new generation of fans and bring memories to his existing fans," says Jett Williams, Hank Williams' only daughter. "Everyone will get to know the man and his musical genius as never before. These recordings were my vehicle to get to really know the father I never met."

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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, ...
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. ...
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 ...

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