"Long Gone Lonesome Blues" and Hank Williams's Early Death


At age 26, less than three years before dying, Hank Williams released "Long Gone Lonesome Blues" in March 1950 and became a #1 Hot Country Single. "My Son Calls Another Man Daddy" (another Hank original) was pressed as the B-side, also finding success: #9 on the C&W charts.


"I'm gonna find me a river, one that's cold as ice," Hank sings. "And when I find me the river, lord I'm gonna pay the price. / Going down in it three times, but lord I'm only coming up twice." Some pretty dark stuff. No redemption in the singer's description of that kind of baptism.


But make sure to check out the home videostoo--particularly Hank walking out of that huge suburban house right around O:48. A son of a railroad man who spent his childhood in southern Alabama is at that moment a rich man and a bona fide celebrity. Like Elvis Presley, a near perfect image of the poor white man's vision of the American dream incarnate.


He died less than three years later in the back of a cab on New Years Day, suffering from acute pain under spina bifida his whole life, Hank died on a West Virginian road on the way to perform with an unknown mixture of alcohol, morphine, B-12, and choral hydrate in in his system. He had stopped to see a physician on the way to be treated, but from my understanding was intending to give the New Years' show that night. On the way, "Carr stopped at a restaurant and asked Williams if he wanted to eat. Williams said he did not, and those are believed to be his last words."*


Here comes the 1950 Hank composition, "My Son Calls Another Man Daddy,"  the track you would have received from 1950 and for several years after as the B side of "Long Gone." Also great. Too good to be a B side, but Hank Williams had so many good songs; some had to be B sides.



*Plenty more details surrounding Hank's death on Wikipedia. This last, asterisked sentence is taken directly from the "Hank Williams" wikipedia entry. I couldn't think of any more poetic way to narrate those course of events in a single sentence. To the good and generous people who put time into running and updating Wikipedia: A Missing America humbly thanks you.





Contact Matt via email: matthewpaulshedd@gmail.com

Views: 256

Tags: ", 'Long, 'My Son Calls Another Man Daddy', , Calls, Country, , , Daddy', Gone, Hank, , Blues"

Comment by Michael Helwig on May 24, 2011 at 7:59am
My Son Calls Another Man Daddy was on my first Hank Williams album, it jumped right out at me, and remains to this day as one of my very favorites of Hank's
Comment by Rick Gray on May 24, 2011 at 10:22am
I just completed "Lovesick Blues" a Hank Williams biography.  Great book!  Hank was a tortured genius.  Until I read this book I was unaware of the suffering in his life.  Hank's lyrics are timeless.  He is the "great Hank Williams".
Comment by R.J. Hall on May 24, 2011 at 1:15pm
It amazes me the His legacy is still so strong, I love the story of the music and the man
Comment by Lynn Boucher on May 24, 2011 at 6:56pm
Although it is 30 years old and was a low budget Canadian film, Sneezy Waters as Hank Williams in " The Show He Never Gave"  is a must see!  It"s Hank's final show on New Year's Eve.  Sneezy Waters  is remarkable;  capturing the essance and the music of Hank Williams in a gracious, intimate performance.  Hank's (Sneezy) story-telling and conversation with the bar crowd is insightful,  profound...and the music is  iconic and beautiful.
Comment by Michael Helwig on May 24, 2011 at 9:12pm
thank you Lynn...I had totally forgotten about that film...I saw it only once and I began watching it as a big time skeptic, but it really won me over...now I have to go search for it
Comment by Lynn Boucher on May 25, 2011 at 8:57am

I bought it recently at Compact Disc on Bank Street  in Ottawa, Ontario. It certainly is still available. Sneezy Waters, I gathered from the sales clerk, is alive and well and lives in The Glebe area of Ottawa.  He also recorded albums including "Sneezy Waters Sings Hank Williams"  But the one the locals hunt down (including me) is called "You've Got Sawdust on the Floor of your Heart".  Great album.  Recorded in 1978. With "The Excellent Band" -a roster of some of the Ottawa Valley's finest musicians.   (Ian Tablyn, Vince Halfhide, Richard Patterson, Bob Soucy just to name a few).   Good luck in your search


Comment by Lucky Mud on May 25, 2011 at 8:00pm

When I was a little boy, Hank Williams was my dad's hero. I still remember riding along with daddy, listening to Hank on the truck radio. This was in a time when Hank was still alive, still on the rise. Daddy sang along with him and I listened carefully, as a child does.
     Maggie and I play concerts in Ireland every year now - mostly originals, but we always throw in some honky-tonk. People in the West of Ireland still love Hank, but have no idea who Hank, Jr., is.
     Another reason to love them.    
     I wrote a song for Hank, and it's on our first CD, Pure and Simple, which is probably out of print now. By the time he was fourteen Hank was hooked on Morphine. Not long after, he was hooked on Whiskey. So I named my song Morphine and Whiskey.

      Morphine and whiskey
      Don't mix very well
      They're unequal parts of Heaven and Hell
      The whiskey's for the lonesome
      The Morphine's for pain
       And he never found comfort in fame

      When he was dry, he was hurting
      The world turned wrong
       Love cut him like a knife
       And he bled songs

       But the Morphine and the whiskey
       Were his true friends
       Angels of mercy
       They were with him to the end

        He went up like a rocket
        He went down in flames
        But a hundred years later
        They'll remember his name

        Morphine and Whiskey
        Don't mix very well
        Morphine and whiskey
        Heaven and Hell


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Created by No Depression Feb 17, 2009 at 9:06pm. Last updated by No Depression Sep 24, 2012.