Hank Williams’ “Mother’s Best” Recordings Finally Being Released

After years of legal wrangling, Hank Williams’ “Mother’s Best” radio programs will finally be released beginning this fall under Time Life’s exclusive agreement with his children, Jett Williams and Hank Williams Jr. The 143 previously-unreleased recordings were made in 1951 for Williams’ show on radio station WSM-AM in Nashville. Airing at 7:15 a.m., the program was sponsored by Mother’s Best flour. Williams and his band pre-recorded 72 of the shows to run while they were on tour. The shows were recorded on 16-inch acetate discs that were later thrown into the trash but salvaged by a WSM employee. One attempt was made to release the songs with overdubbed instrumental tracks, and one record label tried to release them and lost a legal challenge. After Williams’ family was given the discs, the estate fought an eight-year battle to establish sole ownership of the recordings. In addition to Williams’ best-known material, the recordings include 40 songs he was never known to have performed and others he never recorded commercially. Time Life will release the music periodically over a three-year period. Jett Williams says the recordings show another side of her father’s music. “Everyone will get to know the man and his musical genius as never before,” she said. “These recordings were my vehicle to get to really know the father I never met.”