Early Member of Hank Williams’ Drifting Cowboys Dead at 79

James Ervin “Jimmy” Porter, one of the first members of Hank Williams’ Drifting Cowboys band, died Saturday (Dec. 15) at his home in Hoover, Ala. He was 79. In his self-published autobiography, My Life as a Musician, he tells of learning to play the electric steel guitar when he was 12 and joining Williams’ group a year later. “Dad took me to Hank’s and we played several songs and he sang. The only song I remember was his theme song, ’Happy Rovin’ Cowboy.’ I played ’Steel Guitar Rag’ and a couple of other songs, and Hank offered me the job.” Porter said he backed Williams “on and off” from 1941 until late 1943 or early 1944. He later played with Curly Fox and Texas Ruby on tour and on the Grand Ole Opry. He was buried in Montgomery, Ala.