Fairfax, VA (July 27, 2011) —– Time Life and the Estate of Hank Williams announced today the September 13, 2011 release of newly discovered historic Williams’ recordings that are meticulously restored with state of the art technology. Hank Williams: The Legend Begins is a 3-CD package that offers one disc entitled “Rare And Unreleased,” which contains the earliest recordings of a 15-year-old Williams and four songs from a home recording in 1940. The other two CDs are from Williams’ first syndicated radio show in 1949, Health And Happiness, that have been restored using the technology that earned so many plaudits for the Grammy nominated project, The Complete Mother’s Best Recordings….Plus! This highly developed sound technology delivers Williams’ performances as they were originally heard more than sixty years ago.
“Talk about a discovery!,” exclaims Hank’s daughter, Jett Williams. “The first recording of my dad when he was fifteen was given to me decades ago, and then the 1940 home recordings followed a few years later. My husband Keith and I finally got up the nerve to get with the best sound people in Nashville to see if we could salvage these extraordinary recordings. It worked! We did it! What a special treat for music lovers around the world to listen to the talent of an evolving genius. These recordings are a God send and very special to me and Hank’s fans.”
“Hank continues to speak to and entertain us across the generations,” says Mike Jason, Senior Vice President of Retail, Time Life. “These recordings give us a rare and special insight as this American music giant begins his career.”
What an incredible experience to hear Hank Williams’ first recordings as a teenager of Fan It and Alexander’s Ragtime Band. This is the first time they have been heard since 1938 when Williams recorded them. Williams had started building a local following in Montgomery, Alabama at the time and the songs display an incredible confidence at such a young age. On these early recordings Williams is joined by his long-time pal and accordionist, Pee Wee Moultrie.
A 1940 home recording shows how much Williams’ voice had matured in two years when he rocks out to four classics of American music; Freight Train Blues, New San Antonio Rose, St. Louis Blues, and Greenback Dollar. The songs ultimately ended up in the possession of Jett Williams, and the tunes show a wide range of musical styles from an ancient Appalachian song to popular charted hits of the era.
By 1949, Williams had two major hits under his belt and was a member of the Grand Ole Opry. It was at this time he recorded his first syndicated radio series, The Health And Happiness Show. The program’s name was tied to the sponsor of the show…..Hadacol, a patent medicine that contained 12% alcohol. Forty-nine songs from the show have been restored on Hank Williams: The Legend Begins which gives superior quality to these historic CDs. The shows include songs, like Tramp on the Street, that he never performed elsewhere.
Also included on the “Rare and Unreleased” CD is an additional program. The March Of Dimes show features several songs and a touching monologue from Williams, in which he talks about the fear of polio that blighted every summer in the early 1950’s; in particular, he expresses his concern that Hank, Jr. might contract the disease. Williams died shortly before the cure was announced that ended the scourge.