I will start this birth with a death. Hank Thompson died last Tuesday at the respectable age of 82. Known as the King of Western Swing, Hank Thompson was given his first big break all the way back in 1948 with the help of Tex Ritter. Thompson championed the cohesive country album rather than what was more popular at the time: a couple singles and the rest filler. In doing so he put together two classics in the world of Honky-Tonk and Western Swing: 1958s Dance Ranch and 1959s Songs for Rounders. In 1999 Koch Records released the two albums on one CD and it's well worth tracking down.
He also recorded what is apparently the first live country music album, the 1961 At the Golden Nugget that features the amazing finger picking of Merle Travis.
Anyone interested in the relatively contemporary honky-tonk/swing influenced music of the likes of Big Sandy & His Fly-Rite Boys, Wayne "The Train" Hancock, BR5-49, and even Merle Haggard, Asleep At the Wheel, and Commander Cody & His Lost Planet Airmen should pay off a debt to Hank and do some backcataloging. A real treasure.
Read Allmusic.com's tribute here.
And now for the business at hand. This is my attempt to consolidate thoughts and experiences into a single place rather than a large series of emails, websites, links, photos, web forums, and such. I hope it works. I hope my desire and inspiration to create something will surpass my level of frustration as I sit in front of a computer screen and stare at strange buttons and even stranger instructions. Wish me luck. I have a long way to go.
My head hurts. I'm off to listen to Hank.
A Fooler, A Faker.mp3
The New Green Light.mp3
You like? You buy. Support the troops!
Hank at Amazon.