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NPR story on Hank Williams & 'I'm So Lonesome...'

DigiTrad:
HEY GOOD LOOKIN'
HEY, GOOD LOOKIN'
I SAW THE LIGHT
I'M SO LONESOME I COULD CRY


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katlaughing 24 Apr 00 - 07:33 PM
Gary T 24 Apr 00 - 08:00 PM
katlaughing 24 Apr 00 - 08:02 PM
Rick Fielding 24 Apr 00 - 11:05 PM
Gary T 25 Apr 00 - 09:55 AM
Áine 25 Apr 00 - 10:32 AM
katlaughing 25 Apr 00 - 10:57 AM
Sourdough 26 Apr 00 - 03:27 AM
Metchosin 26 Apr 00 - 11:47 PM
katlaughing 27 Apr 00 - 01:24 AM
Rick Fielding 27 Apr 00 - 01:27 AM
M. Ted (inactive) 27 Apr 00 - 02:24 AM
Amergin 27 Apr 00 - 03:14 AM
katlaughing 27 Apr 00 - 07:47 AM
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Subject: LYRIC distinction
From: katlaughing
Date: 24 Apr 00 - 07:33 PM

Just heard a wonderful history of I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry and Hank Williams, with live interviews and a curious distinction between the way he sang the lyrics of one line and the way they are printed in sheet music:

The lines "have you ever a robin grieve/ When leaves begin to die" is followed in print by: "That means he's lost the will to live.."

The historian who spoke, pointed out that Hank sings, "Like me he's lost the will to live.."

I've always sung it the way I heard him sing it, but the DT has the printed version. How have you worded it?

Here's the blurb from NPR. I will post the link to the archive as soon as they put it up:

"Monday, on NPR's All Things Considered the story of the song, I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry. The Hank Williams song is one of the NPR-100 -- the 100 most important American musical works of the 20th century. Hank Williams -- and the news -- Monday on All Things Considered from National Public Radio news."


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Subject: RE: NPR-story on H. Wms & I'm so lonesome
From: Gary T
Date: 24 Apr 00 - 08:00 PM

I first heard it by (can't think of his name--he's sort of like Tom Jones and Englebert Humperdink), and heard "that means". I would have bet that's what Hank sang, too, but I just listened and it does sound like "like me". Of course, in Hank's twang it more like "lak meee", which probably makes it easier to hear "that means" if that's what's already in your mind.

However, I always heard, and Hank clearly sings, "a robin weep", not "a robin grieve".

But back to Hank singing "like me", it reminds me of hearing Minnie Pearl saying that after singing "I Saw the Light", Hank told her he didn't see any light. Apparently he was pretty despondent, and these were little clues. In retrospect his suicide, intentional or just careless, doesn't seem too surprising.


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Subject: RE: NPR-story on H. Wms & I'm so lonesome
From: katlaughing
Date: 24 Apr 00 - 08:02 PM

Yeah, he DOES sing "weep" doesn't he? That's another one in the DT, then, that says differently. (Not picking on you, Dick, just making note, as the program got me to thinking.**BG**)


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Subject: RE: NPR-story on H. Wms & I'm so lonesome
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 24 Apr 00 - 11:05 PM

Gary, the singer you heard was Texan Billy Joe Thomas who had a HUGE hit with it. He's lived a bit of Hank's life as well. Great singer.

Thanks for the thread Kat.


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Subject: RE: NPR-story on H. Wms & I'm so lonesome
From: Gary T
Date: 25 Apr 00 - 09:55 AM

Thanks for the memory nudge, Rick. I had to read your post for 30 seconds before it hit me, I knew him as "B. J. Thomas". Then I slapped my forehead. Duh! I knew that (sort of).


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Subject: RE: NPR-story on H. Wms & I'm so lonesome
From: Áine
Date: 25 Apr 00 - 10:32 AM

My thanks to you for the thread, kat. It was a good program yesterday and set me to thinking about how much "country" music has changed since Hank died. Although to me, the "country" music that Hank sang is "folk" music to me.

However, I have a problem with comparing the written music to the recorded song, and comparing the words, and trying to find a 'hidden meaning', etc. Who knows why he sang it on the record the way he did? Could of been that he just thought it sounded better that way on that day. Could of been that he forgot the words the way they'd been written. Could of been just about anything. Personally, examining the wheres and whys of a song just puts me off it. I prefer to just let the song sink in and effect me as it will at the moment I'm listening to it.

The show was a great reminder of what a great song and a great singer can do -- Make us listen to a part of ourselves that we usually keep hidden. Great stuff!

-- Áine


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Subject: RE: NPR-story on H. Wms & I'm so lonesome
From: katlaughing
Date: 25 Apr 00 - 10:57 AM

Thanks for your comments, phoaks. Here is a LINK to the page with the audio story I heard. Just scroll down and click on where you find the relevant title.

kat


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Subject: RE: NPR-story on H. Wms & I'm so lonesome
From: Sourdough
Date: 26 Apr 00 - 03:27 AM

Thank you Littlekaykat, that NPR story about Hank Williams was interesting.

Not too long ago I was interviewing the widow of a Tennesee coal miner who had been badly injured in a cave-n fifty years ago. She told me tha ther husband had been from Oak Hill, TN and I said to her that the name of the place sounded familiar but I couldn't place why. She told me that it was the place where Hank Williams had died.

Listening to the NPR piece made me think of the Robin and Linda Williams song I like so much but don't really know, about Hank's last night, "Roamin' and Ramblin". It sure would have made a fitting outro for that Hank WIlliams story.

Sourdough


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Subject: RE: NPR-story on H. Wms & I'm so lonesome
From: Metchosin
Date: 26 Apr 00 - 11:47 PM

Another huge Hank Williams fan here kat.

Also the best rendition of the song, other than Hank himself that I have ever heard, was by Roy Forbes or as he used to be called, Bim. He puts as much or more soul in that piece as Hank and also some icredibly poignant slide guitar that will wring your heart out. If you ever come across any of his albums they are well worth a listen to.


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Subject: RE: NPR-story on H. Wms & I'm so lonesome
From: katlaughing
Date: 27 Apr 00 - 01:24 AM

Thanks, you guys. SD, I like that "littlekaykat", I shall have to use it for a gentle admonition to those who don't know or forget. **BG** And, I shall also go look up that song.

katwholovestowailHW'ssongs!


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Subject: RE: NPR-story on H. Wms & I'm so lonesome
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 27 Apr 00 - 01:27 AM

Yah Met. Roy Forbes. Great!

Rick


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Subject: RE: NPR-story on H. Wms & I'm so lonesome
From: M. Ted (inactive)
Date: 27 Apr 00 - 02:24 AM

I had wanted to hear the piece, and missed it, so thanks for the link, Kat--

I heard Bob Dylan talking about this song, and it was an inspiration to him--it is not a country song--it uses imagery to evoke an emotion--

The thing is that all of of these people missed, and the thing that makes it great, is that in the last verse "The silence of a shooting star lights up a purple sky" there is an epiphany--it has the same beat glow that you find in "Howl"--


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Subject: RE: NPR-story on H. Wms & I'm so lonesome
From: Amergin
Date: 27 Apr 00 - 03:14 AM

I like Hank Williams myself, but having been raised on his songs (Grampa is a huge fan of his), the guy kinda grows on you.


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Subject: RE: NPR-story on H. Wms & I'm so lonesome
From: katlaughing
Date: 27 Apr 00 - 07:47 AM

I didn't really know a lot about him until I went to a movie about him in the 1970's, starring his son as him. It was a real awakening for me to his music. Went out and bought a double LP the next day, wore it out and finally got a great two CD collection a few years ago...hopefully it will last longer than the LPs!


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