Wednesday 17 September 2008

On the Bright Side...

It's Hank Williams's birthday. He would have been 85 today. It still seems astonishing that he was only 29 when he died - he looked 20 years older, he seemed to have lived several lifetimes of heartache (and moments of happiness), and he left behind him a body of work as great and as unshakably classic as any in American popular music. Happy birthday, Hank, wherever you are...


  1. Hanks music epitomised the old west, a very exotic land for someone growng up in post war Britain, every now and then I find myself humming his tunes in my head.
    He stands with Roy Rogers (and Trigger) and Gene Autrey as boyhood heroes. Amazingly his songs have stood the test of time.
    Mind you Nige, everyone then looked 20 years older.

  2. True Malty - it was the hats that did it, and the haircuts, and the booze and baccy...

  3. And moustaches. Don't forget the moustaches. I watched an Anthony Hopkins film from the sixties the other night and I got a cold shiver when the old bloke working as a double agent claimed that he was only 29.

  4. I used to believe that the pinnacle of human achievement was the square jawed cowboy, rolling a cigarette, with one hand, this became my goal in life, yup, never could do it.

  5. It's also Constitution Day here in the United States. Not that it means anything anymore or anyone has noticed ;-)

  6. And in the coming days you will all personally need strong ones Randy

  7. You never cease to surprise me, Nige; but, this really strikes a chord . . . You might like a review of The Lost Highway I wrote a few ago:


    I've got some amazing rare HW stuff, some of it given to me by Marty Stuart; and, no, even though I'm broke, I ain't selling anything on ebay, evah! Too precious; I love music too much. Karmatics, chromatics, beatifics, the works.

    And, my esteem for your good taste simply grows exponentially. Whoa, Nigely . . . think Hiram's in baby-blue Caddy heaven (with Johnny Walker in his left hand and a Gibson Custom with pearl-inlay fretboard in his right).

    'Course, you know Leonard Cohen also revered the sky-high sigh guy, aye? He heard 'im coughin' (coffin-punnin' Leo con brio) a hunnert floors above him in the "Tower Of Song."

    BTW, another southpaw, Jimi H., passed away on this day, eh?

  8. Great review Judith - and Tower Of Song yes, what a great song - 'I was born like this, I had no choice, I was born with the gift of a golden voice...' Brilliant...

  9. Thank you, Nige; coming from you, I treasure your kind words. You prolly saw I dedicated that review to LNC, eh? (His middle name was the same as my grandpa's, Norman.)

    And, well, you know LNC said he got over his depression when he hit fifty, I'm sure. (In fact, he's better loved in the UK than in the USA, IMO; but, we share and play nigely, er, nicely :).) Now, I know what Leonard meant; you lose so many brain cells, you don't care anymore (or, as much).

    "Tower Of Song?" H-H-Hot! Abso-deffo one of them incandescent tunes, the best there ever was, at least, in my books, period; but, "Hallelujah" matches it for quality, transportability, and infinite beauty.

    Say, you ever read Bryan's take on "Hallelujah?" Oh, Nige . . . It's on The Leonard Cohen Files:

    And, speaking of great writing, I almost pissed my petunias — the little multi-coloured ones on my longjohns, okay? — when I read his interp of that song. BA nails that sucker to the wail, er, wall . . . drool-worthy (or, do I mean, when I was writing my book on LC, I had to defer to Appleyard's reading of the thing because it was so bloody perfekk? LC loves it, too; so, BA gots as many 'graphs* on "Hallelujah" as Leo does, no small accomplishment, given the fact I R stingy when it comes to stuff inked by the better man :).)

    * Natch, I attribute properly; BA gets his foot- [ahem] high notes :)

  10. The Old West? Hank was from Alabama, the deep south. You English are funny!

  11. Hey, J: We established Hank hailed from Alabama; did you not follow the baby-blue link? Ooops-a-dazy :).

    And, when we're talkin' ol' west, quietly, of course, we're talkin' telegraphin' ol' country-and-western music, the genuine article before nuke country came along and destroyed the heart and soul of urbanic song.

    Please to define "English" and "funny," though; then, when you do, I shall hippily, er, happily let you know if I agree or no :) . . . So, over to you.