Music

One of Hank William’s Saddest Songs

Today’s post was written by Paul.

full moon

In honor of Hank Williams Sr’s recent birthday, I tried to cover another one of his songs. “Alone and Forsaken” is probably the darkest song he ever wrote, or anyone else wrote, for that matter. It was so dark, that to lighten the mood, I tacked on a little blooper at the end that happened during my first attempt at the song.

In case you wonder why I refer to Granny as “Doll,” it’s a habit we both picked up from my Late Aunt Susie Gregory. She called everyone doll, especially if they were younger than her, which was pretty much everyone around at the time that I knew her. She was a big influence on Granny, so Granny got to calling all of her kids, grandkids, and even Pap “Doll.” I was never in the habit until I started taking care of Granny after Pap passed, but before I knew it, I was calling her doll right back.

Anyway, back to Hank… I believe I recall seeing in a documentary that he wrote this song at one of his lowest points, at a time when he had isolated himself from everyone at a cabin or house in the woods. If that’s true, it makes sense. The song is loaded with imagery from nature.

Other than Kaw-liga, it’s the only Hank song that I know of written in a minor key. I would have liked to have done a better job on this, but hopefully it does the song enough justice for you to discern the song’s greatness. The only recording I ever heard of Hank doing the song features only his voice and guitar, no band accompaniment. I think it may have come from a demo reel that he put together by himself to teach the rest of the band some of his new songs. I also think that it may have been released posthumously. I’m not sure about any of this, and I didn’t have time to research, so if anyone can verify or correct any of this, please feel free to leave the info in the comments. Thanks for listening!

Paul


Paul’s not the only one who has picked up Granny’s use of doll as a term of endearment. I hear Chatter say it all the time and I know my niece April uses it too 🙂

Here’s the latest installment of the book Mountain Path.

Tipper

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17 Comments

  • Reply
    SusieQ
    September 25, 2021 at 9:51 pm

    Although that is a sad song….yet I appreciate getting to hear them….they are sometimes so earnest and raw , real…I am drawn to ballads many time for those reasons,, for what the singer is pouring his heart out about in his song….

  • Reply
    Don Byers
    September 20, 2021 at 5:10 am

    Good job….I don’t remember any other Hank songs in a minor key either. I remember the instant I found out that Hank was dead. I was just learning my first chords on guitar…neighbor Billy Burnette was teaching me..he was my hero…before Chet.

    • Reply
      Charles Sansom
      September 22, 2021 at 3:07 pm

      Hey Don, Hank Williams wrote a song in 1951 called “Ramblin’ Man”. It is shown on ultimate-guitar.com as being played in A minor. It was the B side to “Take These Chains From My Heart.” It is truly a dark and haunting tune.

  • Reply
    Cheryl
    September 20, 2021 at 12:01 am

    My, that sure is a sad song, Paul. But, you did a great job, as always!

  • Reply
    Rick Shepherd
    September 19, 2021 at 12:25 pm

    Loved hearing you sing and play Hank Williams old song, Paul……Thank you for bringing it to us…..Granny’s blooper was icing on the Cake! Hahaha!

  • Reply
    dee
    September 19, 2021 at 10:37 am

    Paul, you always sing so well!! That song is a sad song. I noticed some gospel songs were shown and one I hadn’t heard was written by Pap titled “The Bright Shinning Light.” After listening to that sad song, the song Pap wrote was an inspiring song. God bless you all for taking good care of Granny, as she is a treasure.

  • Reply
    Glenn Browning
    September 19, 2021 at 9:51 am

    Great job as always Paul. Great sound from the BlueRidge Guitar.

  • Reply
    Mitchell Buchanan
    September 19, 2021 at 9:42 am

    Thanks Paul. Some new (to me) Hank Williams. I was just thinking about H. W. The other day as I drove by Georgiana on my way to Fairhope and saw the sign for the H. W. museum sign. I remarked to my wife Katie that my uncle Dewitt had a collection of original 78s he bought back then and wondered which cousin has them now since uncle D. Is gone but not forgotten. Would be fun to hear them played on a turntable now. Thanks again, Mitch

  • Reply
    Larry Paul Eddings
    September 19, 2021 at 9:29 am

    I’ve never heard that song before. Hank Williams, Sr. was a tragic genius.

  • Reply
    Ed Karshner
    September 19, 2021 at 9:28 am

    Paul, you did wonderfully sad job…that’s a sad, sad song. I didn’t know this song, at first. Then, toward the end I thought I did.

    So, I googled. The punk band Social Distortion did a cover in 1992. I knew that version. There’s a story there, but I’ll spare y’all.

    I prefer Paul’s take. I’m going to listen again.

  • Reply
    Margie G
    September 19, 2021 at 8:29 am

    First off, you’re a fantastic music man, Paul. You can sing like an angel and play the guitar excellently. Not much to add except Nashville missed out right there! Hank was a dark soul I think. His life and death were like a train wreck in my opinion. I know a woman who calls EVERYBODY “CUPCAKE.” How can the meanest brute be angry at being called a cupcake? I got a kick out of that one. So I’d like to wish all you cupcakes and dolls a wonderful day. I hate to rub it in but it’s like bath water here in WV—- el perfecto temperature that I wish would be like this every day forever… WV IZZZZZ almost heaven some mornings.

  • Reply
    Jane Bolden
    September 19, 2021 at 8:26 am

    Love Hank Williams. Taken too soon. My mother would call me doll. Sure do miss it.

  • Reply
    Dennis M Morgan
    September 19, 2021 at 8:06 am

    Hank Williams could write some sad songs. Paul did an excellent job singing it. I think a lot of people at one time or another feel like the person in the song.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    September 19, 2021 at 8:01 am

    Yes, I feel a darkness around that song! You did a good job on it Paul but then you always do. I think we all have times of darkness in our lives, I’ve had my share.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    September 19, 2021 at 7:56 am

    Yes, very dark and sad. I wonder about the “please understand” part.

    The doll nickname reminds me of how I used to occasionally hear “doll baby”. Guess that was invented to make sure people understood whether a real baby was being mentioned.

    • Reply
      Sanford McKinney
      September 19, 2021 at 8:45 am

      Ron,
      I wondered the same and thought it might be his drinking and carousing or he could have been thinking of destroying himself?
      Seems like I can remember one of the females who appeared a few times on Mayberry RFD calling everyone “Doll”?

  • Reply
    Sanford McKinney
    September 19, 2021 at 7:23 am

    Paul,
    This is about all I could find with the exception of different artist doing the song in different styles.
    “Alone and Forsaken”
    Single by Hank Williams

    A-side
    “A Teardrop on a Rose”

    Released July 1955 (MGM 12029)
    Recorded August 1948 – May 1949
    (Shreveport, Louisiana)

    Genre
    Country, folk

    Length 2:02
    Label
    MGM Records

    Songwriter(s)
    Hank Williams

    “Alone and Forsaken” is a country song written and demoed (though never officially released at the time) by American musician Hank Williams. It has been since covered by many artists.
    Background[edit]
    Williams’ recording of the song was taken from one of his performances on the Shreveport radio station KWKH between August 1948 and May 1949.[1] MGM released it in 1955, over two years after Williams’ death. The song features only Williams’ vocals and acoustic guitar. It explores themes of loneliness and desolation, which he had written about on previous ballads like “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry”; unlike this song, “Alone and Forsaken” is set in A minor and features a sparse quality that gives it a darker feel.[citation needed]
    “Alone and Forsaken” is one of the few songs that Williams ever wrote and sang that sounds more like a folk song than a country song.[citation needed] In the half-spoken verses, Williams reflects upon meeting his love, when “the pastures were green and the meadows were gold”, but “her love, like the leaves, now have withered and gone”. The darkening imagery gives way to a desperate plea during the chorus:
    Alone and forsaken by fate and by man
    Oh Lord, if you hear me, please hold to my hand, oh please understand

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