Hank Thompson was perhaps the most popular Western swing musician of the ’50s and ’60s, keeping the style alive with a top-notch band, tremendous showmanship, and a versatility that allowed him to expand his repertoire into romantic ballads and hardcore honky tonk numbers.
~Steve Huey (allmusic.com)
The glamour of the gay night life has lured you
To the places where the wine and liquor flow
Where you wait to be anybody’s baby
And forget the truest love you’ll ever know
~Hank Thompson – “The Wild Side of Life”
The Wild Side of Life:
|Henry William Thompson
|September 3, 1925
Waco, Texas, USA
|November 6, 2007 (aged 82)
|singer and songwriter
Henry William Thompson (September 3, 1925 – November 6, 2007), known professionally as Hank Thompson, was an American country music entertainer whose career spanned seven decades. He sold more than 60 million records worldwide.
Thompson’s musical style, characterized as honky tonk Western swing, was a mixture of fiddles, electric guitar and steel guitar that featured his distinctive, smooth baritone vocals.
His backing band, The Brazos Valley Boys, was voted the top Country Western Band for 14 years in a row by Billboard. The primary difference between his music and that of Bob Wills was that Thompson, who used the swing beat and instrumentation to enhance his vocals, discouraged the intense instrumental soloing from his musicians that Wills encouraged; however, the “Hank Thompson sound” exceeded Bob Wills in Top 40 country hits.
Although not as prominent on the top country charts in later decades, Thompson remained a recording artist and concert draw well into his 80s.
The 1987 novel Crazy Heart by Thomas Cobb was inspired by Thompson’s life, specifically by his practice of picking up a local band to back him when he toured. In 2009 Cobb’s novel was turned into a successful film directed by Scott Cooper and starring Academy Award winner Jeff Bridges.
|From cmt.com – Ronnie Pugh:
Few performers in any era of the music have known and appreciated its history as well, and Thompson, elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1989, was a big part of that history. His warm and rich baritone graced hits from the 1940s to the 1970s, as his award-winning Brazos Valley Boys band gave those honky-tonk hits a distinctive flavor of Western swing, much in the pattern followed later by fellow Texan George Strait.
Hey Mr Bartender please don’t be so slow
I’ve got time for one more round and a six pack to go
Tomorrow morning’s Sunday I’m gonna be feeling low
So please please bartender I want a six pack to go
A Six Pack to Go:
Album of the day – Vintage Collection (1996):