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Health & Happiness Shows
Hank Williams Sr
Health & Happiness Shows
Genres: Country, Special Interest, Pop, Rock
  •  Track Listings (25) - Disc #1
  •  Track Listings (23) - Disc #2

In 1949, 26-year old Hank Williams struck a deal with the makers of Hadacol to sponsor his first syndicated radio series. Without it and these two-CD transcriptions of music and between-song prattle, we might never have he...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Hank Williams Sr
Title: Health & Happiness Shows
Members Wishing: 2
Total Copies: 0
Label: Polygram Records
Original Release Date: 3/23/1993
Release Date: 3/23/1993
Album Type: Live
Genres: Country, Special Interest, Pop, Rock
Styles: Roadhouse Country, Classic Country, Poetry, Spoken Word & Interviews, Radio Shows
Number of Discs: 2
SwapaCD Credits: 2
UPCs: 731451786228, 031451786243, 731451786242

Synopsis essential recording
In 1949, 26-year old Hank Williams struck a deal with the makers of Hadacol to sponsor his first syndicated radio series. Without it and these two-CD transcriptions of music and between-song prattle, we might never have heard what he was like in his molassified, hayseed ("if the good Lord's willin' and the creek don't rise") glory. Williams was a master of simplicity, both in his writing and in his relaxed performance, where his otherworldly voice often snapped and splintered like a dry branch. But aside from letting Miss Audrey, the Nashville Yoko Ono, get up on stage, he was also his own best producer, allowing members of his Drifting Cowboys band to stretch out in small solos and put their stamp on an entire era. "Play it like you mean it, boys," he always said. Then, as now, authenticity sells. --Alanna Nash

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CD Reviews

Essential to own, but sometimes disappointing to listen to
Gerald L. Russell | Knoxville, TN USA | 09/11/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)

"These CDs receive five stars for content, but sound quality unnecessarily pulls them down to four stars.
I. Content
(1) For those of you who are fascinated by this haunted singer and want everything he ever recorded, these shows are essential. Hank's 1948 and 1949 hits never sounded better, and these versions are superior to the better-known, original recordings. This was the only time Hank allowed the electric guitar to predominate, and guitarist Bob McNett gives these versions a pleasing rockabilly quality. "Lovesick Blues" and "Wedding Bells" are far better than the originals. They're also tighter, more serious, and with better sound quality than the Grand Ole Opry versions (which are constantly interrupted by prompted applause). "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" and "You're Gonna Change" are bluesier than the originals. All Hank's other vocals are more crisp and up to date. Especially outstanding is this version of "I Saw the Light". It has far more vocal inflection than the flatter original version, and it sounds almost like the YOUR CHEATIN' HEART movie soundtrack.
(2) Hank's between-song prattle is fascinating and humorous. Hank's accompaniment on Jerry River's fiddle tunes is a hoot, with Hank singing regularly in a falsetto voice. On Show 3's fiddle tune, Hank really gets carried away in voice and laughter.
(3) The folksy CD packaging is the best of the Mercury series. The CD holders actually protect the CDs, for a change. The booklet is fascinating, with several photos I've seen nowhere else.
II. Sound quality
(1) Mercury unwisely decided against using noise reduction on these tracks. As a result, the popping and crackling on several of the songs is unpleasant, distracting, and annoying. This is especially true on the first few shows, as well as on all the "Happy Rovin' Cowboy" intros. When Mercury stripped several of the gospel songs to use on THE COMPLETE HANK WILLIAMS box set, they belatedly used noise reduction, with pleasing results.
(2) All isn't lost, however! If you want Hank's Health and Happiness vocals, with noise reduction and startlingly good sound quality, buy the inexpensive little British CD, LOST HIGHWAY (Delta, UK, 2000).In conclusion, buy this set to complete your collection. Then, buy the Delta CD to actually LISTEN to. Mercury records, it's amazing how close you came to doing this one right."
All of the Health & Happiness Shows in one place
Bradley Olson | Bemidji, MN United States | 07/23/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is actually the first and only release in history of the complete Health & Happiness Shows. The recordings were mastered from transcription discs from the Country Music Foundation and the surface noise is left intact for the authenticity, plus you don't hear any of the commercials aired at the time these were broadcast on the radio. The shows were about a half hour each and for the most part ended with a hymn, the phrase, "If the Good Lord's willing and the creeks don't rise, we'll be sure to hear from you again" and the fiddle tune "Sally Goodin'" while the start of each show is done with Hank singing the cowboy tune "Happy Rovin' Cowboy." The shows were recorded at WSM radio and were broadcast nationwide. As a plus, the liner notes are great as well. Old time radio buffs, country music collectors, and Hank fans must have this set in their collection."
Excellent. Long overdue. A must have for Hank fans!
Ronald G. Reagan | Steele, Mo. | 04/18/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This one is long overdue to be released. For once, I have an opportunity to compliment Mercury Nashville on a Hank release. You have the complete H & H shows here, folks. This is well worth the buy!"