Western Swing: September 2010 Archives

On October 17, 1952, Hank Williams performed -- sort of -- at Cain's Ballroom. Former Cain's owner Larry Schaeffer tells the story in a 1999 article by Dave Hoekstra:

HankWilliams-Cains-1952.GIFShaeffer's office is a cornucopia of country music lore, ranging from original Ernest Tubb movie posters to love letters from Bob Wills' female fans he found stuck in a wall during a remodeling project. But a stunning highlight is a red vinyl couch - emblazoned with the Cain's logo - that Hank Williams slept on in October 1952 when he was too drunk to play his second show.

"He got someone to run beer to him all day," says Shaeffer, who was handed down the story from Mayo. "So he's toasted. Both shows were sold out. He got through the first show, although it took two people to hold him up. Hank laid down on the couch between shows, and they couldn't wake him up. He was mixing morphine (for a bad back) with liquor. This was 10 weeks before he died."

Mayo, who died in 1994 at age 93, told Shaeffer he didn't know what to do. He finally came clean and told the audience that Hank was too drunk to perform and that his backing band, the Drifting Cowboys, would play without him. Money would be refunded as fans left Cain's.

"Well, someone opened the door to the office and a line formed," Shaeffer says. "People filed past (a blank Hank) like a funeral viewing. The band played on, and not one person asked for their money back."

Mayo, by the way, is O. W. Mayo, the first band manager for Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys, and the owner of Cain's from the '30s to the early '70s.

HankerinForHank-Cains.jpgHank Williams is returning to Cain's Ballroom -- after a fashion -- on October 17, 2010. Muskogee musician Jim Paul Blair performs as Hank Williams in a tribute band called Hankerin' for Hank. It's a DVD/CD release party, and it also features Jim Paul's mother, Ramona Reed, who sang with the Texas Playboys in the 1950s. Admission is $10 -- or free if you buy a $20 DVD. The party starts at 6 p.m.

The band seeks to recreate the look and sound of Hank Williams and the Drifting Cowboys from 1951, down to the wardrobe by Manuel Cuevas, who worked on Hank's original Nudie suits.

Here's the real deal -- Hank Williams singing "Hey, Good Lookin'":

MORE: In 1950, Hank Williams recorded, as "Luke the Drifter," a political song by Fred Rose criticizing Soviet dictator Josef Stalin, titled "No, No, Joe."

'Cause the Kaiser tried it and Hitler tried it Mussolini tried it, too Now they're all sittin' around a fire and did you know something? They're saving a place for you

Now Joe you ought to get it clear
You can't push folks around with fear
'Cause we don't scare easy over here
No, no Joe

A little Friday evening entertainment: It's Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys, featuring singing sisters Dean and Evelyn McKinney. On the bandstand: Noel Boggs on steel guitar, Louis Tierney, Bob Wills, and Joe Holley on fiddle, Alex Brashear on trumpet, Junior Barnard on standard guitar, Millard Kelso on piano. I can't tell from this video who is on drums and bass, although from another clip from the same film, I think it may be Johnny Cuviello on drums. Tommy Duncan doesn't sing on this one, but he's sitting down in the background.

This is probably from 1946; it's the same lineup as the early sessions of the Tiffany Transcriptions, probably from 1946. There's another video that has been circulating on the web for quite a while, with the same lineup and in the same surroundings performing "Goodbye, Liza Jane." YouTube user radiobob805 has posted a better version of that clip:

Speaking of the surroundings, notice the round up-lit ceiling and the round stone planters. There's a sort of Googie / California Coffeehouse / early Mid-Century Modern thing going on here.

This sing-along short of "San Antonio Rose" seems to come from the same session:

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Western Swing category from September 2010.

Western Swing: August 2010 is the previous archive.

Western Swing: October 2010 is the next archive.

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