Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
A Six Pack to Go
Everything about Hank Thompson was modern. He was one of the first country singers to record on audio tape, the first to record a live album. For years, he flew his own plane to shows. Sick of dealing with crappy dancehall... more »
Everything about Hank Thompson was modern. He was one of the first country singers to record on audio tape, the first to record a live album. For years, he flew his own plane to shows. Sick of dealing with crappy dancehall sound systems, he designed and built his own. Handed a coveted membership in the Grand Ole Opry in 1949, soured by the low pay and Nashville's musical conservatism, he quickly went back to his native Texas. Actually, the Waco-born Thompson grew up favoring Gene Autry, the Carter Family, Vernon Dalhart, Jimmie Rodgers, Ernest Tubb and the Opry over the locally generated Western Swing of the Light Crust Doughboys and Milton Brown. After he got his first guitar in 1935 at age ten, his singing won so many amateur shows at the Waco Theater that by the time he was in high school, WACO gave him a Monday-Friday morning radio show as 'Hank The Hired Hand.' He did the final broadcast in January, 1943, the morning he left for the Navy. Home in 1946, studying toward a degree (and career) in electronics, he began playing Tubb-influenced honky tonk with his new band, the Brazos Valley Boys. By fall, he had his first regional hit, Whoa Sailor, on the local Globe label. A year later, after opening for Tex Ritter in Waco, Ritter recommended Hank to Capitol where Humpty Dumpty Heart became his first national hit in 1948. Quick to adapt to changing realities, and aiming at the dancehall circuit, Hank directed guitarist Billy Gray to reinvent the Brazos Valley Boys as a danceable Western Swing-influenced outfit, minus the jazzy instrumental solos he never cared for. Dissatisfied with the small crowds he drew performing around Dallas, he relocated to Oklahoma City in 1951, by then boasting a sound as identifiable as Lefty Frizzell's or Ray Price's. He was blending his jovial honky tonk vocals with swing-flavored accompaniment. The band's high standards earned them awards for over a decade. From 1953 on, his buddy Merle Travis played on nearly all Hank's sessions and on a good many tours. Hank's way with a ballad was apparent on his biggest hit, his 1952 cover of Jimmie Heap's The Wild Side Of Life, which inspired the answer song, It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels (Kitty Wells's first hit). He further demonstrated his ballad skills on I'll Sign My Heart Away and other numbers. Nonetheless, he made his reputation on upbeat bounces like Wake Up Irene, Rub-A-Dub-Dub, A Fooler A Faker, Honky Tonk Girl and A Six Pack To Go. His hits helped keep the Western Swing sound alive during the '50s and '60s when it was largely out of favor. The late Hank Thompson didn't play rock 'n' roll (although one of his last appearances was at a British rockabilly fest), but he didn't play straight-ahead Western Swing, either. His trademark was top-poppin', boot-scootin' honky tonk vocals framed by the powerful, buoyant and danceable sound of his Brazos Valley Boys, who hit Southwest dancehalls like a sequin-suited tsunami! Hank's bouncing upbeat songs, as bubbly and full-bodied as a rich Texas lager, stood out. He recorded steadily from 1946 until shortly before his death, and Bear Family has selected the jumpin'est and rockin'est titles. This set slides 33 of his best down the bar, along with a Rich Kienzle essay featuring extensive song comments and insights from Hank himself.
Hey, it's Hank Thompson
57Johnnie | Montrose, CO USA | 03/02/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Hank does the great Cindy Walker song 'Bubbles in My Beer' on this disc. I think it's the only time he recorded it. A little different take than the Bob Wills/Tommy Duncan version. A lot of other great songs but this one alone makes buying the disc worthwhile."