‘Tennessee Walt’s Hank Williams Birthday Party’: Program Notes

“Hey, Good-Looking” (Hank Williams, 1951). Yes, the official name is “Hey, Good Lookin’.”  To understand why I don’t call it that, read my 2016 blog post, “Hank Williams’ Apostrophe: A Quest for Authenticity.”  It’s not about this song specifically, but it might just as well be. Williams’ penchant for borrowing tunes and, often, some of … Continue reading ‘Tennessee Walt’s Hank Williams Birthday Party’: Program Notes

The Curious Case of Paul Gilley

It sounds like a “Who’s buried in Grant’s Tomb?” line:  Who wrote Hank Williams’ greatest songs? Paul Gilley The obvious answer is that Hank Williams did.  However, there are a small number of people who, quite sincerely, believe that—at least in the case of “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” (1949) and “Cold, Cold Heart” … Continue reading The Curious Case of Paul Gilley

Program Notes: ‘A Distant Country 5’

“Night Train to Memphis” (Roy Acuff, 1942). It’s impossible to say for sure who did what on this song, since it has three co-writers: Owen Bradley, Marvin Hughes and Beasley Smith.  However, Bradley and Hughes were all best known as musicians, while Beasley was a words-and-music songwriter, so likely the words are primarily Beasley’s work.  … Continue reading Program Notes: ‘A Distant Country 5’

‘Tennessee Walt: An Evening in ‘A Distant Country’: Program Notes

“Waiting for a Train” (Jimmie Rodgers, 1928). Rodgers is credited with writing this song, which he absolutely didn’t do—nearly all of his songs were written by other people or (if his name is on them) adapted from older blues songs or mountain ballads, and this is no exception.  It dates from no later than 19th-century … Continue reading ‘Tennessee Walt: An Evening in ‘A Distant Country’: Program Notes

Program Notes on ‘Tennessee Walt’s A Distant Country 3′

“The Lord Knows I’m Drinking” (Cal Smith, 1972).   I’m currently reading Whisperin’ Bill Anderson: An Unprecedented Life in Country Music, the 2016 memoir by the author of this song, who’s been a county star and Grand Ole Opry mainstay since the late 1950s.  In it, he writes that he and his then-wife were having … Continue reading Program Notes on ‘Tennessee Walt’s A Distant Country 3′