Hank Williams: The Garden Spot Programs, 1950
A recently uncovered tape confirms that a half-hour of prime, unissued Hank Williams is something rare and special indeed. On The Garden Spot Programs, between DJ chatter and promo spots for a mail-order plant nursery, come multiple cuts of the 28-year-old C&W godhead backed by a spare, perfect combo. Williamsâ€™ eternal warbling, yodeling ache comes bolstered by warm pedal steel (perhaps Don Davis, perhaps Clell Summey) and a subsequent half-century of country music gettinâ€™ too gosh-durned cluttered. Despite Williamsâ€™ top billing, itâ€™s his timeless laments that are the marquee
attractions, including the wintry memoriam of â€śAt the First Fall of Snowâ€ť (a posthumous single following Williamsâ€™ death three years later), the class-conscious pining of â€śA Mansion on the Hillâ€ť (much requested, per the DJ) and two takes of his No. 1 â€śLovesick Blues.â€ť The performances are casual. Williams performed at countless, nearly identical radio sessions during his brief career, and he isnâ€™t precious, but thatâ€™s exactly what these recordings areâ€”direct transmissions from a fast-beating and long-gone heart.