Country Throwback: Hank Williams Jr. Belts Hank Williams’ ‘Long Gone Lonesome Blues’ at 14-Years-Old

by Kayla Zadel
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Hank Williams Jr. follows in his father’s footsteps in this rendition of “Long Gone Lonesome Blues.”

The TV host says that his favorite songwriter is Hank Williams. “He wrote with a lot of heart and he was a fine performer.” He continues to say that they’re delighted to have Hank Jr.

Hank Williams Jr. walks onto the stage, holding his guitar and starts to sing his dad’s song.

Hank Jr. was only 14-years-old at the time and the host of the TV special comments on his height for his age. This generational musician might be young, but his vocals match his father’s yodels perfectly. Additionally, Hank Jr. picked up the tempo a bit compared to the original.

‘Long Gone Lonesome Blues’ by Hank Williams

The song was originally written recorded in 1950. “Long Gone Lonesome Blues” is Williams’ second number-one single on the Country & Western chart. What’s more, it stayed on the charts for 21 weeks.

The Hank Williams hit has a similar feel to that of another one of his songs. “Lovesick Blues” was also a No. 1 hit for the legendary country music artist.

According to biographer Colin Escott, Williams was carrying around the song title for some time. However, it wasn’t until he went on a fishing trip with songwriter Vic McAlpin that the full inspiration for the song came to be.

Here’s an excerpt from the book talking about the track, “They left early to drive out to the Tennessee River where it broadens into Kentucky Lake, but Hank had been unable to sleep on the trip and was noodling around with the title all the way. As McAlpin told journalist Roger Williams, he and Hank were already out on the lake when McAlpin became frustrated with Hank’s preoccupation. ‘You come here to fish or watch the fish swim by?’ he said, and suddenly Hank had the key that unlocked the song for him. ‘Hey!’ he said. ‘That’s the first line!'”

Williams recorded the song in Nashville at Castle Studio with Fred Rose. But before he did, he bought out McAlpin’s share in the song to take sole credit. Williams was known for doing things like this.

Despite the tune being upbeat, the song is actually about heartache and the narrator tries to find a way to end it.

“I went down to the river to watch the fish swim by / But I got to the river so lonesome I wanted to die, oh Lord / And then I jumped in the river, but the doggone river was dry / She’s long gone, and now I’m lonesome blue,” the first part of the song reads.

Other artists, like Sheryl Crow and Roy Clark and Joe Pass have also recorded Hank’s song.

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