Omnivore Records will release 24 performances from Hank Williams that have remained unheard for the last 64 years. The recordings originally aired more than six decades ago on The Garden Spot Programs, 1950. Set for release on May 20, the set follows the release of Omnivore’s collectible 10” vinyl Record Store Day EP sampler.
“It’s incredible to me that we’re still finding new recordings by my dad — great ones at that,” Hank’s daughter Jett Williams said. “No one even suspected that these recordings existed. We partnered with Omnivore Recordings for this release, and I especially love it that they’re taking my dad back to vinyl.”
From hits to standards to songs rarely performed, the set includes Hank’s banter between songs. It was transferred, restored and mastered from original transcription discs by GRAMMY winning engineer Michael Graves and will also be available on CD and digital.
The CD packaging contains rare photos and liner notes from the collection of set co-producer and biographer Colin Escott. “Set the time machine for early morning on KSIB-AM, Creston, Iowa,” he wrote in the liner notes. “February 1950. Country radio was beginning its slow transition from live music to DJ shows. Live music and DJ shows were augmented by transcribed shows. After buying 15 minutes of airtime on small-market stations, sponsors would prerecord shows with well known artists, duplicate them, and ship them out on 12 or 16-inch transcribed discs.”
“That’s how Hank Williams came to be on KSIB in February 1950,” he continued. “Sandwiched between the local ‘live’ acts, it was almost as if he were visiting with Skeets and those Radio Rascals. His sponsor was one of the nation’s largest plant nurseries, Naughton Farms, seven hundred miles south in Waxahachie, Texas. Given that Naughton was a big player in the nursery business, Hank’s shows were almost certainly shipped to many small stations, but only KSIB’s copies survived. Those of us who have studied Hank’s life and career had no idea that these recordings existed.”