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Why cant I free your doubtful mind and melt your cold, cold heart
December 31, 2004 10:27 PM   Subscribe

goodbye joe, me gotta go, me oh my oh. 01/01/53 the true gran-daddy of white rock and roll is found dead in the back seat of a caddy.
posted by arse_hat (27 comments total)

 
I remember watching "Your Cheatin' Heart" on TV many, many years ago...what sticks out in my mind is that my dad kept saying "That God D----d George Hamilton...he just dated LBJ's daughter to avoid the Draft.
posted by Oriole Adams at 10:41 PM on December 31, 2004


I've never seen "Your Cheatin' Heart" because I just can't. Maybe George Hamilton was good in the role but I just can't believe it.
posted by arse_hat at 10:46 PM on December 31, 2004


And yet his son is a fucking dunce.
posted by trondant at 4:57 AM on January 1, 2005


I love Hank. There are some nice photos at hankwilliamssr.com; I really like #1, and check out #9, taken when he was 13!
posted by taz at 5:27 AM on January 1, 2005


taz, the #9 pic is great. Something about the boy's eyes suggests the hell raiser to come.
posted by arse_hat at 6:21 AM on January 1, 2005


One of the greatest. Some might say he lived his life like a candle in a moderately strong breeze. Not me, though.
posted by squirrel at 7:59 AM on January 1, 2005


Hank Williams' wife of three months, Billie Jean, was involved in the occult, and later married Johnny Horton -- who also died young. She was a very strange woman, who had an eerie influence in both men's lives.
You don't do Hank Williams any favors by saying he was a precursor to rock and roll. It's diminishing. People do the same thing with, say, Paul Cezanne, as if the only important thing about him is that he inspired the cubists. In truth, there is very little of Hank Williams in early rock and roll. He was his own guy, and he was all country. Even his swinging-est songs, like "Why Don't You Do Me Like You Used to Do," and "Hey Good Lookin'," have a steady, deliberate pace that is essentially contained, conservative -- and country -- as opposed to the free-wheeling abandon of rock. Williams was contemporaneous with the earliest years of rock, but there was a huge gulf between his essential gravity, and the wildness of the early rockabillians.
posted by Faze at 9:29 AM on January 1, 2005


I have a weakness for Hank... when I was a child, my grandmother told me that Hank Williams was a favorite of my grandfather who died long before I was born. Ever since that, somehow when I hear his music it's very comforting, making me think about & feel a bit closer to my family history. I have always had to hide this particular musical fondness from my friends who foolishly hear it as hillbilly music. But little do people know, whenever I'm driving long distances by myself I pull out his anthology and happily sing my head off.
posted by miss lynnster at 10:38 AM on January 1, 2005


...my friends who foolishly hear it as hillbilly music

But it IS hillbilly music. That man was bare, and spare, and lean as the West Virginia ridges among whose rocky ledges he breathed his last. But I know what you mean, miss lynnster.
posted by Faze at 11:47 AM on January 1, 2005


It is hillbilly music, and there ain't a thing wrong with that.
posted by scottymac at 12:12 PM on January 1, 2005


I have always had to hide this particular musical fondness from my friends

OT: Are you sure you have to? Leave it out in the open. Some friends might take an interest, or at least find it makes you more interesting. Others will mock you. Cultivate the first group, and be that much better informed about the second. /OT
posted by George_Spiggott at 1:30 PM on January 1, 2005


I've been sitting here wondering what 'white rock and roll' is.

It is hillbilly music, and there ain't a thing wrong with that.

ah.
posted by victors at 2:13 PM on January 1, 2005


victors- Well said.
When I was in high school I got my first job as a radio DJ. One of the older DJ’s had known Hank and did an overnight tribute show every New Years Eve. Ever since then it just isn’t my birthday without Hank’s music.
Anyone I’ve turned onto to it has always become a fan.
posted by arse_hat at 6:24 PM on January 1, 2005


Faze: That was no Hank lyric, but it's got a lovely meter coursing through it just the same. Very well written.
posted by allaboutgeorge at 9:27 PM on January 1, 2005


It is hillbilly music, and there ain't a thing wrong with that.

ya sure got a prutty mouth boy
posted by the cuban at 2:01 AM on January 2, 2005


Well, I worked at alternative radio stations in LA & San Diego, so most of my friends back then were insufferable music snobs. Not only do I enjoy Hank but I also have weaknesses for Flatt & Scruggs & Bob Wills, so I obviously like hillbilly/western/bluegrass stuff (not big on modern "country" though). Since I changed careers I've put the stuff on the stereo at work and been begged to turn it off... so I just choose not to force any music on people unless they seem particularly open minded. In the meantime, singing to my car stereo's a-ok.
posted by miss lynnster at 2:27 AM on January 2, 2005


Faze, I think Hank has been called a precursor to Rock and Roll more due to his lifestyle and the way he died as opposed to someone whose lyrical influence, for example, can be clearly traced the way it can be done in lots of Country Music since he died. Hell, his estate should get royalties for how many times he gets mentioned. But as far as a paternity test for Rock and Roll is concerned, his DNA wouldn't be as visible as the 'live fast, die young' way for which many only know him.
While the "Timeless" tribute CD to Hank has many of the same people who show up for nearly any tribute CD, it also includes Keith Richards (who has always talked about his love of Hank) and Mark Knopfler.
posted by TomSophieIvy at 6:43 AM on January 2, 2005


Well, I worked at alternative radio stations in LA & San Diego, so most of my friends back then were insufferable music snobs.

Plenty of music snobs like Hank Williams. He shows up "100 floors above" Leonard Cohen, eg, and there's another reference to him in a song I heard recently that I just can't think of... point being, liking Dolly Parton or pop country may be a no-no for indie rockers, but Hank Williams and Johnny Cash are classic and bluesy enough that only people scrambling for identity in a 'scene' are gonna turn up their noses at your finding them worthwhile (ie, they may not be into it themselves, but it's definitely 'respectable').
posted by mdn at 9:01 AM on January 2, 2005


liking Dolly Parton or pop country may be a no-no for indie rockers,

Actually, like Hank, Dolly's cool is unassailable. "Coat Of Many Colors," "I Will Always Love You," and her cover of Collective Soul's "Shine," are all masterworks. I remember telling a freind that Dolly is on my list of.....Things That If You Don't Like Them, Well, You Have No Soul.

And there's good pop country and bad pop country. Hank in his own way was "pop country" in that he definitely appealed to a mainstream audience at least in the south. "Cold, Cold Heart" was covered by Tony Bennett, for pete's sake.

I think the key is to judge songs on their own terms. Some good pop country: The Dixie Chicks, Faith Hill's "This Kiss," Deana Carter, some of Travis Tritt's work, etc.
posted by jonmc at 9:47 AM on January 2, 2005


Also, three years ago, I blogged about how there's more feminism in the First Ladies Of Country (Dolly, Loretta Lynn, Kitty Wells) and their descendants than in a whole flotilla load of Holly Near "womyn's music" types. Not to mention better listening too.
posted by jonmc at 9:58 AM on January 2, 2005


Flatt & Scruggs, Loretta Lynn, time to update my playlist.
I read an interview with Kid Rock where he decribes Hank as his greatest influence.
posted by arse_hat at 10:38 AM on January 2, 2005


Dolly's cool is unassailable....
...there's more feminism in the First Ladies Of Country (Dolly, Loretta Lynn, Kitty Wells) and their descendants than in a whole flotilla load of Holly Near "womyn's music" types.


jonmc -- You are so right.
posted by Faze at 11:23 AM on January 2, 2005


jonmc -- You are so right.

Thanks, dad. ;)

Like my alternate theory that the Iron City Houserockers best songs ("Have A Good Time But Get Out Alive," "Junior's Bar," "Blood On The Bricks," "Dance With Me") are among the best punk and the best "Americana" rock of all time.
posted by jonmc at 11:31 AM on January 2, 2005


Iron City Houserockers. I thought I was the only one who still remembered them. Need to pull the vinyl out of storage.
posted by arse_hat at 1:07 PM on January 2, 2005


I was in grade school during their heyday and didn't discover 'em till later, arse_hat. But they dovetailed nicely with my Springsteen/Petty/Mellencamp/Seger fandom, but with a harder, almost punk edge. The only current band that's similar would be The Bottle Rockets (who seem to be on a similar path to critcal/cult favorite/mainstream oblivion) but they have more of a hard country flavor than the ICHR's urban sound, but they same punky energy.
posted by jonmc at 1:45 PM on January 2, 2005


FWIW, if you're interested in the Bottle Rockets, I'd recommend 24 Hours A Day as a starting point, although The Brooklyn Side contains their best song.

/fanboy
posted by jonmc at 1:56 PM on January 2, 2005


I was a DJ playing Olivia Newton-John, Rick Springfield, and Quarterflash on air while listening to ICHR, John Hiatt and Generation X. Here are a couple of ICHR links for the un-initiated.
posted by arse_hat at 2:11 PM on January 2, 2005


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