No Matter How I Struggle And Strive

Country music’s first death trip superstar Hank Williams knew how to pen a tune, and a fatalistic, gimlet eyed one at that. A little clean sounding compared to some of the cover versions of this song possibly but still: could do with some vinyl crackle maybe. I’ve been more and more drawn to this kind of thing recently. Must be November’s fault.

I’ll Never Get Out Of This World Alive

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I Don’t Think Hank Done It This Way

This is brilliant piece of outlaw country from Waylon Jennings, not a genre I usually dip too far into. Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way? is a gimlet-eyed view of touring and ‘making it’, coupled with some short shrift to the Nashville country establishment and their comparisons with Hank Williams, country music’s first bad-boy, outlaw superstar. If you only need one Waylon Jennings song on your hard-drive, how about this one?

Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way?

I’ll Never Get Out Of This World Alive

I fell into an internet wormhole the other night, flicking and clicking from one thing to another, from google to Soundcloud to Youtube to google to Bandcamp and various other places in between, and I honestly can’t remember where I started but I ended up at C.W. Stoneking.

You should really listen to the song first before you read on. Done that? Good. C.W. Stoneking is a fortysomething Australian who sounds like he was born a poor black man in Mississippi a hundred years ago. He sings, plays banjo and stomps out authentic sounding country blues, accompanied sometimes by New Orleans style horns. His website is here. This is his blistering cover of a Hank Williams song. Reading some of the comments threads at various places there appear to be some differences of opinion about C.W. and his ‘authenticity’. Does it matter?

I’ll Never Get Out Of This World Alive

>The Steamhouse

>

So I did go to the pub last night after all.

Sale, where I live, has a pretty rubbish town centre- poundshops, chicken shops, phoneshops, charity shops, several pubs which should be better than they are and threats of violence are everpresent, and some Slug & Lettuce style bars. Grim most of the time. A new bar, The Steamhouse, opened a few months ago and while wandering up the pedestrian precinct we realised we’d never been in. The site of The Steamhouse has housed several dodgy nightclubs and at one point was rumoured to be turning into a lapdancing bar. Walking in was a surprise- nice bar, good beer and what looked like not the normal Sale crowd. We ventured downstairs where a band were setting up, a three piece with stand-up double bass and a Gretsch guitar. In the cultural desert of Sale.

They opened with the words, ‘We’re going to play some rock ‘n’ roll, some blues and some country’. And they did- some Elvis, Summertime Blues, Cut Across Shorty, a great version of Brand New Cadillac, and Your Cheating Heart among others, and on request from your Bagging Area scribe Wayne Walker’s All I Can Do Is Cry (posted here before and as a guest over at The Vinyl Villain), which rocked. They were good and like an idiot I didn’t ask them what they were called. Sorry about that.

Several pints in I also started talking to the manager and raised the possibility of ‘doing a night’. Nothing confirmed yet, but there’s a possibility of Bagging Area going ‘real’ as well as ‘virtual’. This is Hank Williams with Long Gone Lonesome Blues.

long-gone-lonesome-blues.mp3

The Residents ‘Kaw-Liga’

I really hope they wear those giant eyeball heads all the time, at home, nipping to the shops for fags and milk, popping round to feed next door’s cat. The Residents have been around for donkey’s years, stealing, sampling, and releasing strange records. In 1986 they released this one, a cover of a Hank Williams song but using the bassline off Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean. Which makes perfect sense. As does the record being picked up by DJ’s in the holiday islands off Spain a year or two later and becoming a Balaeric/acid house anthem. Hank William’s Kaw Liga is a wooden Indian who falls in love with the Indian girl over at the antique store. He cannot tell her because his heart is made of knotty pine, and ‘poor old Kaw Liga he never got a kiss’. Eventually she goes away, leaving him to pine (pun intended), and ‘as lonely as can be, and wishes he was still a pine tree’.

Kaw-Liga.mp3