News Country Legends Dropping Like Flies
posted by November 9 at 13:58 PMon
Last week it was Porter Wagoner. Wednesday it was Hank Thompson, dead at 82 of lung cancer. Hank Thompson! Just in the last five years we’ve lost Waylon Jennings (2002); Floyd Tillman, Johnny Paycheck, June Carter, and Johnny Cash (2003); Jimmy Martin (2005); and my beloved Buck Owens (2006).
Last night my sister broke the news, and KEXP played several songs by Thompson and his Brazos Valley Boys. I used to listen to Thompson a lot, but not so much in the past few years; hearing him on the radio reminded me of just how much I like his brand of honky-tonk melded with western swing, with hits like 1946’s “Whoa Sailor” (later expertly covered by the Maddox Bros. and Rose), “Cocaine Blues,” “Total Stranger,” “Six Pack to Go,” his cover of Ernest Tubb’s “Driving Nails in My Coffin,” and 1952’s “The Wild Side of Life” (expertly countered later that year by Kitty Wells’s “It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky-Tonk Angels”).
Thompson’s death is certainly a big loss to country music.
Here’s “Whoa Sailor”: