A HANK WILLIAMS STORY – ON THE BAYOU – part 2
Our Story continues with John after having joined Hank and George on the dock -
A HANK WILLIAMS STORY – part 2
- - “Lost Highway” 1949
John spoke first. ”I just got to go now. It’s been a pleasure.”
"Same here!” answered Hank, and George. “Be careful, - don’t get lost in the swamp, now.” said Hank.
As John pushed off from the dock, a trumpet fell out of his bag.
“Can you play that horn, John?” Hank called out after him.
“I can play a bit. I used to be in the marching band at Grambling State. I just carry it in case I need to call out for help, or to scare off any gators that get too close. I’ll be back by in a half hour or so – depends on my traps. See y’all.” he said, as he ducked under the bridge.
Hank and George waved him goodbye, and looked at each other. “He reminds me of Tee-Tot,” said Hank. “Ole Tee-Tot showed me a lot on the guitar. I must have been twelve, or thirteen. I remember walking down the street, playin’ and singin’, and sippin’ on the “hooch”.
I know more about Hank Williams, now. For instance, he had less than two months to live at the time I met him. His back was always hurting. The drugs, and the operation, didn’t fix it. And he was alcoholic, and depressive. He had no band. He was picking up players at one-night stands. He’d either play great, or he was terrible. Sometimes, he didn’t show up for the gig, or would walk off the stage after a few songs. He was temperamental, and unreliable.
The Grand Ole Opry had fired him. If his songs hadn’t continued to sell so well, he would have had no career at all. He was supposedly making a comeback, if he could just clean up his act. Maybe the drugs and the alcohol had him beat, and he probably knew it.
Hank was newly wed to ‘Billie Jean’, just a couple of weeks before, after a very trying marriage to ‘Audrey’, Hank Jr’s mother. Audrey was the inspiration for most of Hank’s best songs, and lots of others. They’d had a marriage that just didn’t work out.
As I look back, he looked tired, like he didn’t eat, or sleep, very well. I didn’t see him drinking that day, but he sure was in a good mood. Maybe, it was John’s playing. To me, Hank seemed like a real nice person.
Hank said “You’re a good player, George. Let’s do “Long Gone”.
Unseen, by Hank, and George, crossing the bridge and coming this way, was a very pretty young woman. She had a fiddle with her.
- - “Long Gone Lonesome Blues” 1950
Hank and George spotted the young woman as they were winding up the song. They stood there, just staring at her. She was a real looker.
“Can I play, Mr. Williams?” she said. “I play a bunch of your songs with my brother and friends. We have a band. I saw you in Lafayette last summer.” She spoke with a deep Cajun accent.
Hank said, “You did? You do? Why, sure, why not? Call me Hank, honey. This is George. What’s your name?”
“I’m Anna Louise, Hank.” she replied. “Hi George. - I saw pictures of your wedding in New Orleans, Hank. Your wife sure is pretty. Where is she?”
Hank was sort of taken aback. Anna Louise was just a smilin’ at him.
“Well, she’s back home, darlin’.” he finally said. I thought I saw sparks fly.
George spoke up, “Let’s do ‘Cold Cold Heart!”
“Oh, good,” she said. “Alright,” said Hank. “Here we go!” - -
- - “Cold Cold Heart” 1951
“You sound real good, Anna Louise!” said Hank admiringly. George said, ‘That was great!”
“Well, thank Y’all, very kindly,” she said, with a bit of a curtsy, and a blush.
George said, “Let’s do another one, Hank. How about your new one - “You Win Again”?
Hank nodded, and foot tapped the count. - -
- - “You Win Again” 1952
Now the three of them were having a really good time. Some of the remaining people in the park, who heard them came over to look. Hank waved a couple of times.
A fellow with a banjo, and his girlfriend, with a guitar, walked somehow, up to the trio. They were maybe seventeen, and it was obvious the fellow had been drinking.
Anna Louise said, “This is my brother, Tommy, and she is Connie. Tommy can play pretty good, Hank.”
“Is that right? Hi, I’m Hank, and this is George. How are you?”
“Pleased to meet Y’all,” Tommy said. He sounded a little shy. “’TK’ will be back in a few minutes. He went for his accordion. He lives just up the road. We heard you from just across the bayou. Y’all sound real good.”
Tommy was getting ready, picking a few notes.
“That was you folks working on that tree, wasn’t it?” asked Hank.
“Sure was, Hank,” said Anna Louise. “They dared me to come over and ask to play.”
“They did?” said Hank. “Well, I’m glad you came on over.”
Tommy said, “I just learned “Moanin’ the Blues”, Hank. It’s a fine tune. Could we try it?”
Hank said, “Sure, this one’s in ‘G’ George. Let’s do it!”
- - “Moanin’ The Blues” 1950
Everyone was nodding in approval. Things had become interesting really fast. They were all having fun. Tommy was good. I always liked the banjo. Hank was looking light on his feet and was just smiling away.
An older couple did some dancing on the grass. I even found myself keeping beat on my knees, and clapping when the song was over. Hank turned his head and saw me, and gave me a nod. I was a somewhat embarrassed.
“Way to play, Tom,” said Hank. “Let’s try this one. ‘I Won’t Be Home No More’. It’s in ‘F’. Anna Louise, - take the lead this time, Hon.” - -
End part 2
Photo from Hank Williams Pictures
Please SHARE and SUBSCRIBE. Thank you!
Check out “The Train To Marrakesh”