Country Throwback: Watch Hank Williams Duet with June Carter’s Sister in 1952

by Katie Maloney

Watch a rare video of Hanks Williams performing live with Anita Carter during a 1952 television show.

Williams is known for his heartstring-pulling songs. And his song, “I Can’t Help It (If I’m Still In Love)” is no different. The song is about a man who is still in love with an ex-partner. As he sees her walking down the street with another man, he can’t help but declare his feelings. During the song, Williams sings, “Today I passed you on the street and my heart fell at your feet. I can’t help it if I’m still in love with you.”

On April 23, 1952, Williams performed the song on the Kate Smith Evening Hour along with Anita Carter, sister to June Carter Cash. Watch this rare footage of Williams and Carter performing “I Can’t Help It.”

Hanks Williams and Anita Carter perform “I Can’t Help It.”

Hank Williams Suffered From Spina Bifida

Williams had a mild undiagnosed case of spina bifida, a disorder of the spinal column, which caused him lifelong pain. Because of the condition, Williams fostered a sense of separation and difference from the world at a young age.

This ability to observe the people around him served as fodder for the emotion-filled songs Williams wrote. When he was eight years old, his mother gave him a guitar and his journey towards stardom began.

Williams said that he started his music ventures by impersonating another artist until he realized that simply being himself was the key to success. “I was a pretty good imitator of Roy Acuff, but then I found out they already had a Roy Acuff, so I started singin’ like myself,” said Williams.

This authenticity was what created hits songs including “Cold, Cold Heart,” “Hey, Good Lookin,” and “I’ll Never Get Out of This World Alive.” Although Williams passed at the young age of 29, his music is still revered today.