Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Luke The Drifter

As promised, here is the third and final part of the overview of Time Life's 3 CD, Hank Williams collection, "Revealed". As is the case with the previous, two parts, it has been written by well renowned Hank authority and biographer, Brian Turpen.

But first, here's one more look at the back story behind the collection as told by Hank's daughter, Jet.

Disc 3 of the new "Revealed" 3 CD set is titled, "Luke The Drifter". This disc is a collection of homilies and stories, many of which were narrations done as Luke the Drifter. Hank had done these types of numbers for years. On his early days at radio station WSFA in Montgomery, Alabama, Hank was known close his shows with a recitation. Hank wanted to record these types of numbers once he got his recording contract, but his producer and publisher Fred Rose, as well as his record label MGM at first resisted. Once Hank got enough clout, they relented. However, in order to distinguish themselves from his popular releases, it was decided to release them under the pseudonym name of Luke the Drifter. Hank once stated he didn’t know where they got the “Luke” part, but knew where the “Drifter” part came from.

Hank recorded a total of 14 of these “talking blues” numbers that were released under Luke The Drifter. None of the Drifter releases ever made the charts, but it didn’t slow down Hank’s desire to record them. Many feel these recordings revealed more about Hank himself than anything else he ever did. Although the content may be considered corny by today’s standards, at the time they appealed to the religious rural audiences of the day. Most of the numbers had a moral theme, not all of which were heartening or inspiring. They did however give advice, most of which Hank ignored himself. One can see the influence of early gospel music in many of the numbers.

Disc 3, contains 11 selections from the 1951 Mother’s Best Flour shows. Over half of the tunes are considered Luke the Drifter numbers.

If you want to read a more detailed description of the "Revealed: The Unreleased Recordings", check out Brian Turpen's full overviews on Time Life's official Facebook page.

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