Thursday, August 28, 2008

me and hank and fun on the bayou

"louisiana swamp house". photograph by arrian binnings, 2004.

louisiana swamplands. photograph by mike boothes, 2004.

So. Shreveport, Louisiana is not exactly located in the heart of the Cajun swamplands, I am aware.

Or at least I am now, having looked it up on Wikipedia. Shrevesport is, in fact, Louisiana's third largest city and home to the "Louisiana Hayride" weekly radio show; which ran from 1948 - 1960 and helped launch the careers of Hank Williams and Elvis Presley, among others, and prompted the young Hasil Adkins to begin experimenting on chicken wire strung makeshift instruments back home in Boone County, West Virginia as a child.

Written by Hank Williams, Sr - 'Luke the Drifter' - in 1952, one year before his death in the back seat of a Cadillac somewhere on the road between Knoxville , Tennessee and Oak Hill, West Virginia.

Twenty-nine years of age, Williams had intravenously administered a cocktail of Vitamin B-12 and morphine. There was no whiskey beside him on that back seat. A few empty beer cans only. And the hastily scribbled lyric to an unfinished song.

THE RESIDENTS: JAMBALAYA (ON THE BAYOU) from "Stars & Hank Forever: The American Composers Series, vol. II" LP (Ralph) 1986 (US)




Your driver said...

Hank Williams Senior is the only Hank Williams. The punkish boy, Hank Williams Junior the Third is...Cute...but I can't really call him Hank Williams. As for the little shithead in the middle, Audrey's brain damaged son, Let's not, shall we?

ib said...

Well put!

I know nothing about the ill-begotten middle born child, but your dismissal of him is admirably snappy.


Jon hit it right on the head about Hank, there's only one, the rest are II - impostor, & III - imitator.

I've never been a fan of the King, maybe it's my colonial upbringing & hatred for Monarchies but I surely am a great fan of The Residents.

So when the subject is Elvis & The Residents I couldn't resist leaving a little ditty here from the great Elvis & Eye by The Res. I had a hard time choosing between "All Shook Up", "Viva Las Vegas", & the winner here Devil in Disguise"


ib said...

Wha'?! You don't like Elvis!

Fair enough. I must confess I whooped it up myself when I heard he'd died on a Radio Luxembourg news bulletin back in 1977, but that was more a symptom of the times - and the Emperor Roscoe's ingratiating Graceland worship - I think... If you ignore the horrendous immediate post service era and stick with the very early and later Memphis and Vegas eras you can't go wrong.

All monarchies are not just suspect, but positively villainous.

I have a digital "Viva Las Vegas" but not "Devil In Disguise", sooo.... well chosen.


ib said...

"beef pigz"! That verification thing is too damn clever.

I have heard on good authority that Parker was originally from Breda - a town I know well - in Holland, and fled to the U.S. on a murder charge. The reason he was so set against his boy playing in Europe was he could not follow (since the warrant against him still held good) given the odds on getting pinched at any time. No matter how many palms he greased he could not make the charge go away.

Your driver said...

Ib, wasn't that good authority Chairman Mick Farren? I know I found out from one of Farren's books that the Colonel was Dutch and wanted in Europe.

In case you've missed them "Hank" II had big hits with the songs "(I Got So Doggoned Drunk) I Th'owed Up On Mahse'f" (featured as the theme song for Monday NIght Football) and "Th' On'y Thang Smells Worse Than A N****r Is Mah Feet" , his light hearted tune "poking fun at political correctness". His song writing career took off after he fell off a cliff and landed on his head (That part is true!)

"Hank" Junior the Third fronts several bands, including a honky tonk band, a punk band, a death metal band and a two piece world fusion band featuring Hank on Timbales and nose flute accompanied by a cellist. OK, I made the last one up. I wanted to like "Hank" junior the third but couldn't warm up to his big hit, "I'm Fucked Up On Drugs."

ib said...

Nah, I was hiding behind the fact that I seriously couldn't remember where I'd heard it, but it stuck upside my head because I'd lived in Breda very briefly - "stayed" for a few months would be more appropriate. That Mr. Farren verifies it in one of his books makes the "good authority" I recklessly laid claim to that bit more legitimate, however...

I knew vaguely that 'Hank' II was a bit of a lobotomized redneck, but I had no idea his shit was quite so flagrantly dumb and misguided. What an charmer.

I hadn't even known of 'Hank' III's existence prior to this. As to the title of his big hit, fair enough; but I am genuinely fond of the Cramps' "Let's Get Fucked Up", which would appear to reside in the same ball-park.

Parker was definitely Dutch and "wanted" and never actually held a U.S. passport. I seem to remember the original charge related to the murder of a young woman, which would not surprise me one jot. In addition to the fear that he might be arrested in connection with that charge should he set foot on European soil, was the equally valid possibility that his adopted U.S.A. would bar him from re-entry or have him deported.

Such was his anxiety that the teat of the cash cow might slip between his fingers in the event he was permitted to tour overseas on his lonesome, he did his utmost to persuade Elvis that the King's own legal status as a U.S. citizen was under threat.

Your driver said...

Ib, you might have noticed a tendency on my part to poetiicize the truth rendering it metaphorical rather than merely factual. Hank III really did not record that song, he did record a song called "I Think I Overdosed". He wishes it put him in the same league as The Cramps. Actually, father and son recorded a great number of songs about "Life is hard when you're the zillionaire spawn of a genius, but at least I've got a lot of really good drugs." Hank III added a certain soupcon of "And I've got a lot of guns and I know how to use them so don't make me nervous" . The generations resemble the real Hank only in that they use drugs and have a lot of guns. The real Hank, a true son of the south, loved guns too.

ib said...

See, Jon. Sometimes I take things too literally for my own good.

"I'm Fucked Up On Drugs" has some honesty to it, at least. "I Think I Overdosed" ? You either did, or didn't. If you're physically able to waltz in to a recording suite and hum along to the possibility, chances are you didn't.

If I lived in a country where guns were not only obtainable but perfectly legal, I am guessing I would harbour a certain fondness for them too.