Hank and his Honkeytonk Blues

A “honky tonk” was slang for a bar in the Southeast, Deep South and Southwest that provided musical entertainment along with the alcohol it served its working-class patrons. Though early “honky tonk” music was a rhythmic cousin of ragtime, in the early ’40s musicians such as Earnet Tubb transformed it into a hard-driving form of country music that became the soundtrack of these mainly urban establishments. In the late ’40s and early ’50s Alabama-born Hank Williams had a string of honky tonk hits like his “Honky Tonk Blues,” taking the genre to a mass audience. Unfortunately Williams lived the rough life of which he sang; Williams died in 1953 at the age of 29 as the result of heart failure due to alcohol and drug abuse.