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Hank Williams: Snapshots From The Lost Highway Hardcover – October 16, 2001

4.6 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

When Hank Williams died in the backseat of a car at age 29, he left behind grieving fans, friends and family, as well as eight guns, eight pairs of boots, 11 hats and a saddle. Hank Williams: Snapshots from the Lost Highway by Colin Escott and Kira Florita gathers together just about every last piece of paper having anything do to with country music's greatest and most tragic star (hence the postmortem inventory). Much of the material is new: included in this volume are the handwritten lyrics to 30 songs never recorded or published, private family correspondence and some 150 previously unpublished photographs, including Hank's first baby photo.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Although he never made it to 30 and died nearly a half-century ago, singer/songwriter Hank Williams continues to exert tremendous influence on all spheres of popular music. The country crooner also continues to invite biographical treatment. In 1998, music historian Escott (Hank Williams: A Biography) and Florita, former marketer of the Hank Williams catalog for Mercury Records Nashville, produced the Grammy-winning, ten-CD set The Complete Hank Williams. While working on that project, they amassed a huge number of photographs, documents, and published and unpublished song lyrics. That iconography forms the basis of Hank Williams: Snapshots from the Lost Highway, an appealing coffee-table book that is being cross-promoted with the tribute album, Timeless. Composed of captions by the authors and excerpts of interviews with Williams and his family and friends, the text is somewhat sparse but to the point and well written. Rick Bragg also contributes an elegant foreword. Koon's Hank Williams, So Lonesome was first published as Hank Williams: A Bio-Bibliography (Greenwood, 1993). This second take features expanded biographical coverage and important discussions of Williams's songs. Also significant are the author's attempts to separate the facts of Williams's life and work from the mythology of the musician and his thoughtful assessment of sources. In eliminating the reference-book qualities of the earlier Greenwood volume, Koons has made a significant contribution to Williams literature for fans and scholars. As a pair, these books nearly perfectly complement each other, but, unfortunately, neither contains a discography. In addition, the Escott and Florita volume lacks a bibliography (perfectly acceptable for a work of this kind), and the Koons book contains only a scaled-back one. Despite these shortcomings, both books avoid sensationalizing their complex subject and are highly recommended for public libraries and academic libraries with a popular culture focus. James E. Perone, Mount Union Coll., Alliance, OH
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press; 1st Da Capo Press Ed edition (October 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0306810522
  • ISBN-13: 978-0306810527
  • Product Dimensions: 10.3 x 10.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #519,457 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If it was 25 pages longer, I would have given "Snapshots" five stars! It's a wonderful treasure trove of fascinating, previously unseen photos, interviews, first person narratives and long-lost song lyrics. If you're a Hank Williams fan, you know what an impressive researcher is Colin Escott. His earlier bio of Hank stands as the most complete picture we're likely to have of a singer who, almost without fail, gave complete heart and soul in the recording studio. Finally, we have a book that attempts far more than a grim post-mortem on Hank's well-documented personal miseries. This is a celebration of Hank Williams: musician and performer. Wait until you see all the incredible photos of Hank and the Drifting Cowboys on stage, playing to excited, packed houses in places as far flung as San Jose and Ottawa. By all accounts, Hank was the most charismatic live performer of his time. Many of the hand-written scraps of unpublished song lyrics are very moving, especially "I Wish I Had A Dad." If only Hank had been given enough time to put the words to music and record them, his string of classic hits would have, without doubt, continued. I am not a starry-eyed admirer. I realize that Hank was abusive to his wives, often cruel and secretive. (By the way, photos here show what a teenaged knock-out was Hank's second wife, Billie Jean.) The "hillbilly Shakespeare" lived most of his brief adult life as a tortured, late-stage alcoholic. But "Snapshots" takes care to balance the picture, too. It depicts Hank Williams as millions of record-buying fans saw him: an enomorously gifted singer/songwriter and electrifying showman.Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
In assembling 1998's 10-CD The Complete Hank Williams, Kira Florita and Colin Escott found far more material than their box set's book could contain. As a result, they put together this book, a behind-the-scenes look to hold his devotees spell-bound.
Fans who've read Escott's biography Hank Williams will treasure the new material: an extensive collection of informal photos, long-sealed court depositions, the accounting ledger with the $30,000 payoff to his naïve teenaged bride Billie Jean to abandon her claim to his estate, etc.

Among the handwritten copies of 30 unpublished songs and song fragments ("I Wish I Had A Dad," "The Broken Marriage") is "Then Came That Fatal Day" found on the floor of the Cadillac where he died en route to a December 31, 1952, concert. The newly revealed lyrics capture his love-hate relationship with his first wife, Audrey. Meanwhile, a draft of "Cold Cold Heart" accompanies Hank's and Audrey's conflicting accounts as to whether it was "inspired" by an abortion.
Numerous details emerge in the book, like Billie Jean's humor, and Hank's problems with excess measures in song lines. Letters from his publisher/co-author/editor Fred Rose (a recovered alcoholic who tried to curb Hank's substance abuse) find Rose trying to help the volatile marriage to Audrey while - like many others - harshly assessing her.
Audrey, who died in 1975, was an ambitious woman who attempted plenty of spin on her exhusband's legend, but she was probably right in saying, "If some woman, equally as strong as I am, had not come along, there never would have been a Hank Williams. He did not want to live when I met him."
It's an intriguing cast of characters, which build upon the already colorful Hank Williams legend. Check it out today!
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Format: Paperback
I have been an avid C&W fan since the late 40's;and although I have admired the many other great stars throughout the years ,none better defined this music than the the way Hank did. He did it all ,and in a large degree,by himself. In any area ,be it: songwriting,costumes,variety,gospel,heartbreak,lonlieness,love,inovation,tours,fighting the establishnent,personal life,longevity,an interresting personality,pop ularity,humility,you name it, he excelled and was the one who set the standard for the other stars to follow.I am sure most of them would agree.
If my memory serves me well ,Hank had several songs on the top 10 a year after his death; and we still see books like these coming out 50 years after his death. One can only imagine what he would have produced if he had lived a normal lifespan.
This book is excellent in every respect and also a great companion to Escott's other equally fine effort Hank Williams S - The Biography.If my memory serves me correctly,Hank had several songs in thev top 10 a year after his death and book of this quality still coming out 50 years after his death.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Really glad I bought this book. I learned quite a bit about Hank Williams, his rise to the top and untimely death at such a young age. The photographs were very interesting making me want to see more!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is a perfect display of photos, letters and artifacts of Hank Williams short life. In the short two hundred pages you see Hank Williams as the human being he was and the true music artist that he is yet today. I received this book as a gift because I have been a life long fan of Hank Williams and have read several biographies on him. This book tops them all. I know the legion of Hank Williams better now that I have seen the photos and read the text in this book.
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