Honky Tonk Blues
|"Honky Tonk Blues"|
|Single by Hank Williams|
|from the album 'Moanin' the Blues'|
|B-side||"I'm Sorry for You, My Friend"|
|Recorded||December 11, 1951, Castle Studio, Nashville|
|Hank Williams singles chronology|
"Honky Tonk Blues" was a hit country and western song written and performed by Hank Williams. The original 1952 recording was a major hit, and it later became a hit for later-day superstar Charley Pride.
Hank Williams Version
"Honky Tonk Blues" is one of the most problematic songs Williams ever recorded. According to Colin Escott's 2004 Williams memoir, Hank and producer Fred Rose had attempted to record the song several times previously: in August 1947 (the session that produced the novelty "Fly Trouble"); in March 1949 (this version featured a light, jazzy feel and an intricate solo from guitarist Zeb Turner, but Hank broke meter and it was abandoned); and again in June 1950. The backing on the December 1951 session is believed to have been Don Helms (steel guitar), Jerry Rivers (fiddle), possibly Sam Pruett (electric guitar), probably Jack Shook (acoustic guitar), and Ernie Newton or Howard Watts (bass). The song was about a young farmboy who leaves his father's farm for the enticements of the city, only to become worn down and disillusioned. The version that was released did not contain all the lyrics on his original demo; the next-to-last verse in which Maw and Paw are "really gonna lay down the law" was missing, emphasizing in a way that Hank himself never made it back from the honky-tonks to pappy's farm. Williams' version reached #2 on the Billboard magazine country best-sellers chart.
|U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles||2|
- Hank Williams, Jr. recorded the song as an overdubbed duet with his father in 1965 for MGM and then again in 1996 with his own son Hank III on the album Three Hanks: Men with Broken Hearts.
- It appears on the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band's 1972 album Will the Circle Be Unbroken.
- The most successful cover version was by Charley Pride; his version reached the top of the Billboard magazine Hot Country Singles chart in April 1980.
- Waylon Jennings included a version of the song on his 1982 album Black on Black.
- Huey Lewis and the News covered the song on their 1983 album Sports.
- The song was also recorded as the debut single by American country music group Pirates of the Mississippi. Released in 1990, it was the first single from the album Pirates of the Mississippi. The song reached number 26 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart.
- Jason and the Scorchers covered the song.
- The Kentucky Headhunters recorded the song for their 1994 LP Big Boss Man.
- Don Williams recorded the song for Pulse in 1999.
- Dion Dimucci covered "Honky Tonk Blues" on his 2007 Grammy Nominated album, "Bronx in Blue".
- Richard & Linda Thompson do a live version on the 2010 Deluxe Edition of Shoot Out the Lights.
- Lacy J. Dalton recorded the song for her 2010 LP Here's to Hank.
Charley Pride version
|"Honky Tonk Blues"|
|Single by Charley Pride|
|from the album There's a Little Bit of Hank in Me|
|Producer(s)||Jerry Bradley, Charley Pride|
|Charley Pride singles chronology|
|U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles||1|
|Canadian RPM Country Tracks||1|
Pirates of the Mississippi version
|"Honky Tonk Blues"|
|Single by Pirates of the Mississippi|
|from the album Pirates of the Mississippi|
|Producer(s)||James Stroud, Rich Alves|
|Pirates of the Mississippi singles chronology|
|Canada Country Tracks (RPM)||12|
|US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)||26|
- Escott, Colin 2004.
- Escott, Colin & 2004 346.
- Escott, Colin & 2004 194.
- Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book Of Top 40 Country Hits: 1944-2006, Second edition. Record Research. p. 277.
- Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book Of Top 40 Country Hits: 1944-2006, Second edition. Record Research. p. 270.
- "Top RPM Country Tracks: Issue 1298." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. October 6, 1990. Retrieved August 23, 2013.
- "Pirates of the Mississippi Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Hot Country Songs for Pirates of the Mississippi.
by The Bellamy Brothers
|Billboard Hot Country Singles
April 12, 1980
"It's Like We Never Said Goodbye"
by Crystal Gayle
"I'd Love to Lay You Down"
by Conway Twitty
|RPM Country Tracks
April 26, 1980
"Two Story House"
by George Jones and Tammy Wynette