Yes ladies and gentlemen, just when you thought you heard the last note of music from the legendary Hank Williams, yet another collection of recordings has surfaced from the Hillbilly Shakespeare called The Garden Spot Programs, 1950 to be released by Omnivore Records on May 20th. The 24 tracks haven’t been heard by the public in 64 years, and will be made available on CD, LP, limited-edition red vinyl, and digitally. Omnivore is also releasing a limited-edition brown vinyl EP taken from the collection in conjunction with Record Store Day on April 19th.
Similar to Hank’s recordings taken from his Mother’s Best Flour-sponsored radio shows, The Garden Spot Programs are the result of 50’s era radio marketing through music. The four shows were recorded in Nashville for Naughton Farms, a mail order plant nursery in Waxahachie, Texas, just south of Dallas. Instead of Hank being backed by his regular Drifting Cowboys band, he was accompanied by a studio band in the recordings, and unless you were sitting by the radio in 1950, this will be the first chance you’ll have to hear the collection that includes versions of well-known Hank songs and rarities and entertaining banter mixed between songs that reveal bits of Hank’s stage presence and personality.
There were at least eleven Garden Spot shows that Hank recorded, but the 24 tracks of this collection are taken from four specific shows, placed in sequential order. Other artists also recorded segments for Garden Spot, including George Morgan. The quality of the recordings is what you have come to expect from archival Hank material because it was cut in the same Nashville studio. The radio programs were then transferred to 16-inch transcription discs and sent to small radio stations across the country. Though many of the transcription discs were discarded, a set was discovered at KSIB in Creston, Iowa, and this is where the tracks of The Garden Spot Programs are pulled from.
Hank Williams biographer Colin Escott co-produced the collection. “We’re not only finding things, but finding things we never even knew about,” Escott tells USA Today. “The sound quality’s astonishingly good, certainly on a par with his studio recordings, because they were done in the same studio. It sounds like Cousin Jody playing steel guitar, playing a lot of steel guitar. Hank loved Don Helms, because Don didn’t play a lot of steel guitar. He kept it simple. So when you’re hearing Lovesick Blues with the very busy fills, it’s like hearing it anew.”
“It’s incredible to me that we’re still finding new recordings by my dad,” says Jett Williams. “Great ones, at that! No one even suspected that these recordings existed. We partnered with Omnivore Recordings for this release, and I especially love it that they’re taking my dad back to vinyl.”
Many other archived recordings from Hank Williams have been released in recent years by Time Life and other companies, but this is the first vinyl collection.
1. THE GARDEN SPOT JINGLE
2. LOVESICK BLUES
3. A MANSION ON THE HILL
4. FIDDLE TUNE
5. I’VE JUST TOLD MAMA GOODBYE
6. CLOSING/OH! SUSANNA
7. THE GARDEN SPOT JINGLE
8. MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS
9. LOVESICK BLUES
10. FIDDLE TUNE
11. AT THE FIRST FALL OF SNOW
12. CLOSING/OH! SUSANNA
13. THE GARDEN SPOT JINGLE
14. I CAN’T GET YOU OFF OF MY MIND
15. I DON’T CARE (IF TOMORROW NEVER COMES)
16. FIDDLE TUNE
17. FARTHER ALONG
18. CLOSING/OH! SUSANNA
19. THE GARDEN SPOT JINGLE
20. I’LL BE A BACHELOR ‘TIL I DIE
21. WEDDING BELLS
22. FIDDLE TUNE
23. JESUS REMEMBERED ME
24. CLOSING/OH! SUSANNA
Tracks 1-6 taken from Naughton Farms Garden Spot Program: show #4.
Tracks 7-12 taken from Naughton Farms Garden Spot Program: show #9.
Tracks 13-18 taken from Naughton Farms Garden Spot Program: show #10.
Tracks 19-24 taken from Naughton Farms Garden Spot Program: show #11.
LP includes download card.