Hank Williams Garden Spot Programs

Even though he has been dead for more than 60 years, fans continue to discover recordings of the performances from legendary great Hank Williams. In May of this year, Omnivore Records is planning to release a recording of The Garden Spot Programs from 1959 which is a set of radio transcriptions that have not previously been heard by fans. Mind Your Own Business is one of those recordings and it will be premiered at USA Today.

Hank Williams

Colin Escott is a Hank Williams biographer who has been involved in the coproduction of the release and he says that not only are things being discovered but they are items that no one was aware were even in existence.

These particular recordings were born of a performance of Williams and were recorded live in Nashville in February of 1950 for Naughton Farms, which is a mail-order nursery company that is based in Waxahachie, Texas. It appears that the organization had commissioned Williams along with some other artists, including George Morgan, to perform at these shows which would be recorded onto sixteen inch transcription discs. The discs were then distributed to small town radio stations across the country and the nursery would intersperse the recordings with commercials for their farm. It is assumed that they were sent to possibly hundreds of small radio stations and the copies that were sent to a station in Creston, Iowa, station KSIB, happened to have survived and will be the basis for the release in May.

The recordings were discovered by a collector named George Gimarc and he brought them to the attention of biographer, Escott, who is amazed by the quality of the sound that is on the discs. He says that it is on par with studio quality.

Grant Turner from the Grand Old Opry opens the track by announcing Williams who sings Mind Your Own Business, a track that, in the summer of 1949, became a top five country hit. The Garden Spot Programs also includes early Williams’ iterations of favourites such as his hits Lovesick Blues and Wedding Bells. Two other songs, which were rare inclusions in Williams’ live performances, are also featured. One is Farther Along and the other is a gospel song called Jesus Remembered Me which Williams had previously recorded with his wife, Audrey. The solo version, says Escott, allows one to hear Williams like it is the first time as the listener is not distracted by the added voice of Audrey.

The Garden Spot recordings are said to be particularly interesting due to the fact that Williams is obviously not joined by his usual band and as such, again these versions seem to make a unique enough statement that they feel like completely different editions of what’s been recorded before. These recordings will be issued as a digital download in addition to being available on CD and, as a special treat, limited-edition red vinyl. These will all follow the 10″ vinyl sampler EP planned to be released by Omnivore on Record Store Day, April 19.

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