Zero to 180 – Three Minute Magic

Discoveries of a Pop Music Archaeologist

Hank Thompson: Western Swing’s Dean of Diction

In my prior post about the Nashville Chowdown LP, I mentioned that back in the early 70s jazz singer Blossom Dearie‘s  “exceptional annunciation” was being put to good use in the ‘Singing Rice-ipe’ radio ads.  If Blossom Dearie had a male counterpart, that person would undoubtedly be Hank Thompson, whose singing style is distinguished by equally excellent articulation.

Someone once humorously described Hank and his band, The Brazos Valley Boys, as a honky tonk band disguised as a western swing outfit — funny because it’s true.  Anyway, here is one of Hank’s more playful songs – from an earlier time in American popular culture, lyrically speaking – although I have to admit I only just now learned that it is a cover of a Bud Alden & the Buckaroos 1956 recording.

This tune, “Squaws Along the Yukon,” was the A-side of a 1958 Capitol single (with Merle Travis on guitar) that was later included in Hank’s 1960 album, Most of All:

“Squaws Along the Yukon”

Hank Thompson (1958)

LP Musician & Production Credits

Hank Thompson – Vocals & Guitar
Billy Gray – Guitar & Bandleader
Merle Travis – Guitar
Floyd White – Steel Guitar
Billy Briggs Stewart – Bass
Batch White – Drums
Tom Camfield – Fiddle
Harold Hensley – Fiddle
Bob White – Fiddle
Vic Davis – Piano
Producer – Ken Nelson
Recorded at Capitol Recording Studio – Hollywood


Special 45 sleeve

Salute to the ‘newest’ US state

Talk about a classic cover:

Six Pack o' Hank

Bonus video link to live Opry performance of “Six Pack to Go“:

“Six Pack to Go” reached #102 (i.e., “bubbled under“) on Billboard‘s Top 100 chart on April 18, 1960.


LINK to Western Swing

LINK to Countrypolitan +/- Country Pop

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