I always liked the song, but never knew about any of the people or stories that Hank III was singing about. Over the last few months, I’ve gotten bits and pieces from bulletins and videos from CuzN Wildweed who right now is in West Virginia attending the funeral of Birtie Mae, the miracle woman, mother of the Dancing Outlaw Jesco White, and wife of D. Ray White.
Yesterday by sheer luck I found these videos. They tell the story of D. Ray, Jesco, and the others. You may not have time to watch them right now, but come back when you do, bookmark this page, because it is really worth it, they are funny as hell, true as the country, and tragic.
I still don’t know how Hank III fits into all of this, and if you know please leave a comment and fill us all in. What I do know is that Boone County is one of the epicenters of the Outlaw Country underground railroad, and is one of the poorest and proudest areas of our fine country.
One of the great gifts given to the country music songwriter is the ability to immortalize the common man, and one of the great tragedies of pop country is that they don’t utilize this gift. In songs like ‘D. Ray White’ and ‘Cecil Brown,’ Hank Williams III does this very thing, and proves once again why he is the man who would save country music.
These were taken from the documentary ‘Dancing Outlaw.’ There was also a follow up documentary ‘Dancing Outlaw II: Jesco Goes to Hollywood about Jesco appearing on the ‘Rosanne’ sitcom. Jesco also is also the one you can hear ‘outlaw’ tap dancing on ‘Louisiana Stripes’ from Hank III’s Straight to Hell .
On another obituary note
The great Bo Diddley died yesterday. Though his mark on country music was probably very small, he belongs in the very small company of people who can truly be called the fathers or inventors of Rock ‘n Roll. Somewhere up there he’s hanging out at a bar reserved for the founders of Rock ‘n Roll, with an empty stool on one side reserved for Chuck Berry, and the stool on the other side filled by the immortal Hank Williams Sr.