Zero to 180 – Three Minute Magic

Discoveries of a Pop Music Archaeologist

“Lost Highway”: Hank Williams + Chet Atkins & Friends

One other prominent (and tragic) artist from country music’s early years to get the cosmetic posthumous remix is Hank Williams, whose death in 1953 in no way stopped MGM from issuing new product for the marketplace (often multiple albums per year) through 1981 and beyond.  Hank Williams, for instance, was the recipient of an added string section on at least three albums – not to mention the backing of Nashville’s finest on one key track “Lost Highway” that appears to have been embellished in a 1968 overdub session and later issued on 1977 LP Hank Williams’ Greatest Hits Vol. 2:

[Pssst:  Click the triangle above to play “Lost Highway” by Hank Williams & Friends.]

Lost Highway

Thanks to the Hank Williams Discography for identifying the names of the musicians who helped modernize Hank’s original recording in order to give it that “Nashville Sound” —

Hank Williams (vocals & guitar)

Chet Atkins (electric guitar)

Sammy Pruett (electric guitar)

Tommy Jackson (fiddle)

Jerry Rivers (fiddle)

Don Helms (steel guitar)

Eddie Hill (rhythm guitar)

Jack Shook (rhythm guitar)

Floyd Chance or Ernie Newton or Cedric Rainwater (bass)

Owen Bradley or Fred Rose (piano)

Date of overdub recording session:  September 26, 1968


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Jimmie Rodgers:  First To Be Posthumously Produced?

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3 Responses

  1. Just outrageous how Chet and his pals took this classic song and ran it right into the muck of overproduction in 1968. This sad and lonely tune is reworked in a way that would have the listener whistling a happy tune instead of appreciating the melancholy mood the lyrics convey. As Waylon Jennings became painfully aware, Chet—as fine of a guitar stylist as he was—had poor instincts as a producer.

  2. I’ve heard that argument and Bocephus echoes it. If you notice, though, some of Hanks key players stepped back into the studio for this. If THEY had seriously objected, I’d like to think THEY would have begged off. Sure, what little money they earned might have been a consideration. But, they also were, by this time, keenly aware that they had been part of something genuinely historic, timeless, and might have been concerned with protecting that legacy. I think, if THEY had had serious reservations, THEY would have expressed them and bowed out. For me, this is no more egregious than are the overdub, done with the voices of Jim Reeves/Patsy Cline and Jim Reeves/Deborah Allen, which produced amazing results. To each his own.

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