Fairfax, VA. (Top40 Charts/ Time Life) - Time Life under an exclusive agreement with Jett Williams and Hank Williams Jr., announces the release of what many fans know as the 'Mother's Best' recordings.
The 143 never before released recordings are from a radio series sponsored by a milling company in 1951. The show went out every morning at 7:15 AM, and when Hank was scheduled to be out of town, he would prerecord the show. If you weren't listening to early morning radio in mid-Tennessee in 1951, you've never heard this music and the 72 prerecorded shows now give us a deeper insight into Hank's life and music. He performs with his band and the sound quality is favorably compared to his studio recordings.
The shows were recorded on 16-inch acetate discs that were shelved after the series ended and were almost thrown into the trash. They were salvaged by an employee of WSM before being given to the Hank Williams estate. The estate then fought an eight-year battle to establish sole ownership.
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 icon.
These recordings capture a side of Williams' personality that has never been presented to his current day fans. It showcases his humorous side as he jokes with his band and the emcee, and talks unguardedly about his favorite songs, whether written by himself or others. It gives the listener a glimpse of what Williams was really like as a person and the picture that emerges is very different from the sad, forlorn man portrayed in some publications. Most importantly,though, we hear Williams sing 40 songs that he was never known to have performed as well as many other songs that he didn't record commercially. These include 'Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain,' 'Cherokee Boogie,' and 'The Blind Child.'
'This is truly a unique moment in music history,' says Mike Jason, Time Life, Senior Vice President, Audio & Video Retail. 'Finding these once-in-a-lifetime recordings is comparable to discovering a closet full of unreleased Beatles' or Elvis Presley songs.'
'This treasure trove of music will introduce my daddy to a whole new generation of fans and bring memories to his existing fans,' says Jett Williams, Hank Williams' only daughter. 'Everyone will get to know the man and his musical genius as never before. These recordings were my vehicle to get to really know the father I never met.'
Since his death in 1953, Williams has risen in popularity to become one of most iconic figures in all of American music. Such classics as 'Your Cheatin' Heart,' 'Jambalaya,' 'You Win Again,' keep his legacy alive and these Mother's Best recordings have been eagerly awaited by fans around the world. The 143 recordings will be released as installments over a three year period with the first installment due this fall. When the Time Life series is complete it will increase the number of known Williams' recordings by fifty percent.