The fifteen-disc bootleg of the so-called “Mother’s Best Flour Show” recordings has been floating around the internet for nearly a decade now, while numerous lawsuits were duked out by Hank Jr. and his half-sister Jett (the daughter Hank Sr. never knew) as the Williams estate tried to establish sole ownership of the recordings. Although the bootleg collection has a far greater quantity—if not quality—of songs, it’s hard to go wrong with this three disc set, which contains 54 of the 143 songs that Time Life plans to release in the next three years.
The Mother’s Best recordings were a series of approximately seventy radio shows, prerecorded in 1951 for early morning radio play on WSM 650. According to Colin Escott, Williams’ most in-depth biographer, in addition to the intro singing of “Lovesick Blues,” each fifteen-minute show included a secular song, a gospel number, an instrumental, and two pitches for Mother’s Best flour done by WSM announcer Louie Buck. The shows themselves were recorded on notoriously fragile acetate discs, but most—if not all—of them survived after being rescued from the trash by a WSM employee in 1979.
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