Hank Williams died in the backseat of a Cadillac at age 29 on his way to a New Year’s Day show in Ohio, drunk and filled with a variety of painkillers. He had the body of a man 69 and fading, ravaged by spina bifida occulta, alcoholism, drug addiction, and a failing heart.
His genius as a songwriter and performer never failed him, however. Police officers arrived to find his body near a handful of unfinished lyrics, and at his final recording session he cut “Your Cheatin’ Heart,” a song so profoundly country that many consider it to be the very definition of the form.
Williams’ recording career was short, with an official output of only 31 singles, 30 of which charted with seven reaching No. 1. That his legacy remains so powerful is a testament to his brilliance as a writer, interpreter and undeniable charisma as a performer.
“Hank Williams – Pictures From Life’s Other Side: The Man And His Music In Rare Photos And Recordings” is a quietly lavish collection from BMG that collects the entirety of Williams’ performances from his weekday radio show on WSM, which was sponsored by Mother’s Best flour.
Williams recorded 72 shows from 1951 until his death and this collection is the first to gather all of his Mother’s Best performances — 144 tracks on six CDs, each carefully restored and remastered from the original transcription discs by Michael Graves and overseen by producer Cheryl Pawelski.
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