Hank Williams

Steve Hoffman steve@goodnote.com
Wed Jan 1 16:09:06 EST 2003

The connections between Hank Williams and blues are real, and not of your

First of all, young Hank learned guitar off of a black street musician in
Montgomery, Alabama (I'm pretty sure it was Montgomery). So from the beginning
his music had a direct black influence.

Second, Hank's music does have a rhythmic drive to it that distinguishes it from
much of the country/hillbilly music of his era. There's just a slight rockin'
groove to Hank's music.

Third, the pain and "cry" in Hank's voice is unmistakable. And he came by it the
hard way.  His was an upbringing of abject poverty, alcoholism (his Dad),
disease (congenital spine condition that was never treated and worsened with
age), and his private life was just a horrible, pathetic mess.

Fourth, I am told that when Hank Williams started performing regularly at the
weekly Louisiana Hayride in Shreveport, the organizers of those live broadcast
shows faced a problem they had never faced before . . . . a not insignifcant
number of black folk would show up and want to see Hank, which was a "problem"
due to segregation.

Poor Hank died 50 years ago today, in a drugged & drunken stupor.  But as long
as there's somebody with a heartache, Hank's music will never die.  (And I ain't
referrin' to Hank Jr or Hank III -- but the one & only Hank Williams Sr.)

Steve Hoffman

Vince Cheney wrote:

> This is amazing that this would come up! I have always loved hank and I been
> getting a little heat from a friend because a lot of folks like to hear me
> play "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry", solo on harp. At gig's I will do it on
> request (only once per night ofcourse) and a good friend has been telling me
> to lay off the tearjerker and play some blues!!! I thought I was the only
> blues fan in the world that put Hank in w/ the rest of the blues legends! I
> was wondering if either I or everyone else was deaf, lol.. I guess it may be
> me...
> Vince Cheney
> Winemaker's World - http://winemakersworld.com
> The Blues & Harmonica Forum - http://thebluessite.com/community
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