Country Song Roundup|
It is written that "AS A MAN THINKETH, SO IS HE" so I would like to tell you what is in my heart regarding a very dear friend of mine, Hank Williams. I hope you will not think I am lost in a mass of superficial religion before you read all of what I have to say, as I think I am too practical to delve into the transcendental, beyond the realm of reason
I believe that Hank Williams is just as much alive today as he ever was, and if you will just listen to some of the great songs he has written and recorded, plus the GOOD deeds he has done (that are just now coming to the front) I'm sure you will agree with me, Hank's life was, and is, in his great love for Country Music and I intend to do all in my power to keep his songs alive eternally because I believe that is the way Hank wanted it to be.
I cannot spare any sympathy for death because I do not know if it is good or bad and I don't think anyone else does either. I feel that we will all have to wait until we go through the actual experience of what is called death before we do know what it is. Therefore, I refuse to believe that Hank has migrated to a locality called Heaven, or consigned to a state of oblivion, so I intend to see, hear and enjoy the living of Hank Williams in his music.
If you feel the same as I do about the life of Hank Williams, then you will not only be preserving Hank's great love for Country Music, but the loved ones who are depending on him for their livelihood. What Hank gave to the world will never die! It will live longer than you or me.
Excuse me for being so practical about my friend's welfare, and I am,
Compliments of the Dept. of Archives & History, Montgomery, Alabama
Some say Fred Rose, the Nashville songmaster, is the man who 'made' Hank Williams. But Rose is the first to deny this.
"I got a lot of other boys on record," Rose said during a coffee-cup interview this morning. "Hank hit and the others didn't. Nobody made Hank but himself. He was quite a boy!"
The fact remains though, that Rose is the man who first took a liking to the boy who came up the hard way - ("just like myself" Rose said) - and put him on records and helped polish his song hits.
It was several years ago when Hank went to Rose with a couple of songs in his jeans. Rose liked the songs and had Hank cut a couple of records with Sterling Recording Co. in New York.
The Nashville songmaster, who currently operates one of the nation's biggest music publishing businesses with Roy Acuff there, heard MGM artists were looking for a "country boy." He took the master recordings cut at Sterling and hustled them over to MGM. The MGM brass liked what they heard and promptly bought the masters from Sterling to be released by MGM.
From there it was an up-and-down struggle to the top of the hillbilly heap for Hank.
"Whatever people say about Hank, he never hurt anybody but himself," Rose said. "He was his own worst enemy. You know and I know, he was sometimes good and sometimes bad.
"But one thing he had - and all his friends recognized it - was loyalty. I don't give a hang whether he drank or not, I appreciate the fact that he was loyal.
"I know that one time another firm tried to bribe him away from me for $50,000, but he stuck with Rose. He'd say, 'I started with Rose and I'll stay with Rose'. And he did.
"If you were his friend, he was the type of fellow who would stick up for you, no matter what. Why, you could be here and he could be out in California and somebody would come up to him and say, 'Aw, that Honicker, he's a no-good bum.' And he'd collar the guy and say, 'Now, wait a minute! You're talking about my friend.'
"He was just like me - came up the hard way. I've been on my own since I was seven. Grew up in a small country town, just like Hank. Used to pass the hat around in saloons for my keep. He was like that.
"You can't take a country boy like that who suddenly finds himself making $100,000 or $200,000 a year and expect him not to act like a crazy kid!
"But as much as he drank and upset others, he never disappointed me. I'm not just saying that because he's dead. I knew him as well as anybody. It's just that he didn't have sense enough to salt away his dough. He was the type of boy who wanted to spend his money on all the things of fun he'd missed as a kid."
What's the song that started Hank on the road to immortality in the field of folk music?
"Move It On Over" was the first song Rose took from Hank that clicked.
But it was a song written by Jack Mills - "Lovesick Blues" - which really put Hank Williams on the stardust trail.
It was two years after "Move It On Over" before Hank clicked again, Rose said. After that, it was almost all hits and no errors, except the ones Hank made in his personal life.
"But don't get the idea that I made the guy or wrote his songs for him," Rose emphasized. "He made himself, don't forget that!"
And the songs Hank made himself with? "Cold Cold Heart"..."Your Cheatin' Heart", "Jambalaya", "I Can't Help It", "Kawliga"...and others.
Hank's publisher said today that he is going to Hollywood next week to talk over with MGM the handling of MGM's forthcoming movie about Hank's life.
Rose said MGM presently plans the film as a $5,000,000 production. The music publisher said that he feels major changes must be made in the present motion-picture script before it has Acuff-Rose's approval.