The most highly anticipated project of 2008, Hank Williams The Unreleased Recordings, will hit retail stores on Tuesday, October 28th. The first installment showcases fifty-four of the 143 recordings of Williams’ performances on the 1951WSM radio show sponsored by Mother Best’s Flour. The additional eighty-nine songs will be released in separate installments during the next three years, with fans getting to hear Hank as never before.
The first installment features Hank Williams performing exciting, new versions of his classic hits including, “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry,” “Cold, Cold Heart,” and “Hey, Good Lookin’,” as well as songs he never recorded commercially including, “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain,” “Cherokee Boogie,” and “Cool Water.” On the CDs, Williams gives some insight about the songs and with “On Top of Old Smoky,” he explains this was a song he learned from his grandmother singing it in the original, mournful Appalachian style instead of the more upbeat version of the 1951 radio hit and campfire singalong. The project gives the listener an intimate experience with Williams that has never been possible before. It’s almost like inviting Willliams into your living room and getting a rare snapshot of who he was in 1951.
Media has enthusiastically embraced the project with upcoming coverage in Newsweek, People magazine, AARP magazine, National Pubic Radio/Weekend Edition Saturday with Scott Simon, Rolling Stone, Los Angeles Times, Tennessean, New York Daily News, New York Times, Hits magazine, Alternative Press, Philadelphia Inquirer, CMT Insider, CMT.com, GAC/Master Series, Country Weekly, to name a few.
“This is a once in a lifetime event in music history,” says Mike Jason, Time Life, Senior Vice President, Audio & Video Retail. “We have the unique opportunity to present deeply personal, never before available, high quality recordings from the father of Country music, Hank Williams.
The fact that the music survived all these years, despite almost being lost a few times, makes our ability to share them all the more gratifying. When we have released all the songs, Hank’s available catalog of work will be increased by 50%.”
“These recordings are such a great snapshot of my dad, Hank Williams,” says his daughter, Jett Williams. “It shows his personality and the great sense of humor he had and spotlights him singing his classics during one take in a radio studio. For fans, it will be like a trip back to 1951 and a chance for them, and me, to really get to know the total man that was country music’s first superstar.”
In 1951, Williams was at the pinnacle of his career as several top pop vocalists, including Tony Bennett and Perry Como, covered his mega-hit, “Cold, Cold Heart.” He also appeared on major national television shows including The Perry Como Show and the last great medicine show, the Hadacol Caravan, where he topped the bill over Bob Hope and Milton Berle. Those appearances transformed Williams from a regional Country artist into a national super-star. Since his death in 1953, Williams has risen in popularity to become one of most iconic figures in all of American music.