Program Notes: Tennessee Walt’s ‘An Afternoon in the Country’

East Hampton Library, August 7, 2021 1.  “Night Train to Memphis” (Roy Acuff, 1942). Roy Acuff 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 both best known as musicians, while Beasley was a words-and-music … Continue reading Program Notes: Tennessee Walt’s ‘An Afternoon in the Country’

Program Notes: Tennessee Walt’s ‘Hanks a Lot”

Bethpage Public Library, July 28, 2021 “Honky Tonking”  (Hank Williams, 1947) Williams actually recorded and released this song twice in consecutive years, once for the low-budget, no-royalties Sterling Records in 1947 and again for the far more professional MGM Records in January 1948. Sterling didn’t have much distribution, so the MGM recording is the version … Continue reading Program Notes: Tennessee Walt’s ‘Hanks a Lot”

The Night that Hank Williams, Ernest Tubb and Porter Wagoner Came to Town

Is it a mystery if not many people care what the answer is? I say it’s a mystery if even one person cares—and, in this case, I’m that person. I didn’t initially recognize it as a mystery.  It started out looking like a song: “The Night Hank Williams Came to Town” (1987).  It’s a pretty … Continue reading The Night that Hank Williams, Ernest Tubb and Porter Wagoner Came to Town

‘The Most Important Event in the History of Country Music’

On August 6, 1927, Ralph Peer left Bristol.  By Monday, August 8, there weren’t many people who even remembered that the Bristol Sessions had happened.  Most of the musicians who had auditioned for him were already back in their everyday lives, scrambling to get by.  Peer returned to New York, Bristol went about its business … Continue reading ‘The Most Important Event in the History of Country Music’

If You’ve Got the Money: The Economics of the Bristol Sessions

The Bristol Sessions looms large in history for artistic reasons:  They launched the careers of Jimmie Rodgers and the Carter Family, whose music would define the parameters of country music for generations to come. However, the Sessions were not primarily an artistic exercise, but rather an economic one.  Ralph Peer wasn’t in Bristol looking for … Continue reading If You’ve Got the Money: The Economics of the Bristol Sessions