Court Frees Hank Williams' 'Lost Songs'

A Nashville court has freed for release 150 "lost songs" recorded by country legend Hank Williams. The catalog was ruled to be the exclusive property of the singer's heirs -- son Hank Williams Jr. and

A Nashville court has freed for release 150 "lost songs" recorded by country legend Hank Williams. The catalog was ruled to be the exclusive property of the singer's heirs -- son Hank Williams Jr. and daughter Jett Williams.

Since the late 1980s, Jett Williams has had transcription discs of pre-produced segments that Williams recorded in 1951 for "Mother's Best Flour Show," a 15-minute show that once aired on WSM-AM 650. The discs contain live versions of some of his greatest hits, plus 40 songs that were never commercially released, such as "On Top of Old Smokey" and "Blue Eyes Cryin' in the Rain."

There's enough material for four new original Hank Williams albums, said Keith Adkinson, Jett Williams' husband and the lawyer who filed the lawsuit. "It's like Hank came back and visited us on his 80th [birthday] and presented us with a whole new fruit basket of wonderful things," Adkinson told The Tennessean newspaper today (Sept. 11).

Through his publicist, Hank Williams Jr. said of the resolution, "It worked out the way Daddy would've wanted." Hank Williams would have celebrated his 80th birthday on Sept. 17. He was found dead in the back seat of his Cadillac on New Year's Day 1953. The official cause of death was heart failure.

Over the years, Jett Williams has been approached by companies that wanted to market the recordings, Adkinson said. But they have been in a legal tangle since late 1997, when she filed an injunction against Legacy Entertainment Group LLC and its two principals.

Adkinson said Legacy was telemarketing an adulterated version of the recordings that they got from Williams' former bassist, Hillous Butrum. Hank Williams Jr. also was a plaintiff to that lawsuit. Kevin Norwood, president of Legacy Entertainment and a Nashville lawyer, said "We disagree with the decision and we do intend to appeal."


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