Hank Williams Rare Live Recordings to Be Released
Many performances by great artists have been lost over the years, but thanks to a Grand Ole Opry photographer, the world can hear the legendary Hank Williams performing on live radio shows from the 1950s.
Les Leverett, who was the Grand Ole Opry photographer working for the National Life & Accident Insurance Company (owners of WSM radio and the Opry at the time), happened to notice a box of Hank's acetate recordings in a trash box outside the National Life offices one day. It seems there was a major spring cleaning going on, and the company was throwing away things it no longer felt it needed. Leverett asked if he could have them and was told he could take them home.
The music Leverett saved was from numerous 'Mother's Best' radio shows from 1951. Mother's Best Flour was the sponsor of the show which originally aired on Nashville's WSM. The discs made for the show were meant to be played only once. The material on them includes not just songs, many of which are not on other Hank recordings, but also includes Hank, his band and the crew at the show talking back and forth, joking and carrying on in a way fans have never heard from this gifted songwriter and singer. Additionally there are commercials and commercial jingles performed or played throughout the shows.
Some of the material has already been released, but now a new collection, 'The Hank Williams Complete Mother's Best Recordings ... Plus!,' is planned, including everything from those original acetates. The box set will feature 15 audio discs of Hank and one DVD featuring his daughter, Jett Williams, interviewing Hank's Drifting Cowboy band members Don Helms and Big Bill Lister, both of whom were present when the shows were put down on acetate. There is also a 100-page booklet with