Grant Alden’s Field Notes: A Hank Williams salute
In the midst of this moving madness (in which one wonders again at the wisdom of saving all that vinyl, all those CDs, all those books…and is grateful for what strength remains in the lower back), I had barely wit to notice that the last Friday of the month, the last Friday of 2010, coincided with the anniversary of Hank Williams’ passing in 1952. Or 1953, depending on what time at night he died in the back of his Cadillac, a state over from where I sit typing over my morning coffee.
And so I pulled together a show to celebrate Mr. Williams’ music.
By way of digression, in my present universe, here are the three greatest country music songs of all time:
(1) “Life’s Little Ups and Downs and Downs” (Charlie Rich, written by his wife)
(2) “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” (Hank Williams)
(3) “Long Black Veil,” though I remain evenly divided between versions recorded by Lefty Frizzell, Johnny Cash, and John Anderson. I think, this morning, I’ll take Anderson’s version.
Tomorrow’s list might be different.
My hour of Hank Williams airs tonight at 7 PM EST on WMKY (OK, I think I found the new link button; we’ll see). As I’m certain you’ll have something else demanding your attention (I’ll be packing boxes), here’s the setlist.
(1) “Lost Highway,” Hank Williams
(2) “Honky Tonk Blues,” Hank Williams
(3) “No, No Joe,” Luke the Drifter. The rules say you can only play three songs by an artist in a three-hour period or some such, so I chose these three to give some indication of Hank’s range. And for my own capricious reasons.
(4) “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain,” Willie Nelson, but written by Fred Rose, Hank’s “editor” at Acuff-Rose, and the author of “No, No Joe.”
(5) “Weary Blues (From Waiting),” Ray Price, written for him by Hank before Hank’s band left with his more sober protege.
(6) “(I Heard That) Lonesome Whistle,” Johnny Cash
(7) “You Win Again,” Jerry Lee Lewis
(8) “Why Don’t You Love Me,” Elvis Costello (it’s the piano that links them, in my mind, anyhow)
(9) “Settin’ The Woods On Fire,” Little Richard
(10) “Half As Much,” Ray Charles
(11) “Your Cheatin’ Heart,” Patsy Cline
(12) “Alone And Forsaken,” Neko Case
(13) “Move It On Over,” George Thorogood, my gateway drug.
(14) “Lovesick Blues,” Ryan Adams
(15) “Ramblin’ Man,” Mark Lanegan and Isobel Campbell
(16) “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry,” Jimmie Dale Gilmore
(17) “House Of Gold,” Patty Griffin
Packing, I found one of those slimline advances of a reissue of Waylon Jennings’ Hank Williams cuts, which I wish I’d found earlier, even though I can’t remember if there’s any magic on it. But there’s always next year.
And, yes, “He Stopped Loving Her Today” is on that other list, somewhere in the top ten.
That may be all for me for a while. We’re not moving into a finished house, and so it may be a month or more before I’m unpacked and reliably online.