Yet again, I’m venturing away from guitar slides here on Guitar Slide Wednesday. I was hoping to feature the pedal steel today, but when the song “I Saw the Light” came up in our service planning meeting at the church this morning (seriously, it did), I knew today had to be a Hank Williams song.
“Lovesick Blues” features Hank Williams’ noted vocal abilities. Throughout the song, he veers into yodeling territory by using his falsetto to embellish certain words, and he also uses his trademark vocal breaks regularly. My favorite occurrence of this is on the word “sigh” around 0:20 when the instrumental accompaniment stops and we hear a true sigh in Williams’ voice. This song was originally a Tin Pan Alley popular song that Williams covered in 1949 and made it a hit.
I have admitted elsewhere that I prefer a cover version of a song to the (legendary) original. I’m not going quite so far here, but this video of Ryan Adams singing “Lovesick Blues” is one of my very favorites. It’s from the Hank Williams tribute album Timeless that features a nice assortment of artists, such as Bob Dylan, Beck, Emmylou Harris, and even Hank III. This is clearly a lo-fi affair, but I think it’s a fantastic version of the song. The song even features a couple of violin/fiddle portamentos!