Eoin Butler: writer, journalist and Mayoman of the Year

Tripping Along The Ledge



My favourite ever artist. My favourite ever song.

August 20th, 2009.

9 Responses to “I’M SO LONESOME I COULD CRY (1949)”

  1. Colin Says:

    So beautifully sad.

    “Hear that lonesome whippoorwill,
    He sounds too blue to fly”

    Hank sure knew the pain of a breaking heart. I’m off to cry now.

    Cheers Butler.

  2. Eoin Says:

    Hank is a master of manipulating emotions. According to legend, when he came off stage once, the promoter congratulated him on his performance, saying that half the audience had been in tears.

    Hank insisted on going back on – he wasn’t leaving, he said, until the entire goddamn audience was in tears.

    The third verse (“Have you ever seen a robin weep when leaves begin to die…”) is the one most often quoted. But I think that verse is actually pretty redundant l – it’s basically just a retread of the first verse.

    I suspect he included it only as an excuse to shoehorn in a second heart-tugging steel guitar solo.

    For me, the bleakest and most beautiful verse is the second:

    “I’ve never seen a night so long
    When time goes crawling by
    The moon just went behind a cloud
    To hide its face and cry…”

  3. Colin Says:

    Aye, the second verse certainly has more poignancy. Just as an opening two lines, he’s hits you right in the gut with it’s universal simplicity.

  4. Eoin Says:

    Another completely unsubstantiated theory of mine, while I’m at it…

    I suspect that the second last line of the song (“And as I wonder where you are…”) was probably inserted by Hank’s publisher Fred Rose.

    Rose regularly edited Hank’s songs, smoothing off the rougher edges. (A reference to whiskey in Lost Highway, for example, was changed to “Just a deck of cards and a jug of wine…”)

    I don’t think Hank’s loneliness was for a woman or a dog anything remotely like that. Look into his life story if you don’t believe me. The women in his life suffocated him.

    My hunch is that the song is about existential loneliness, that Hank is a sort of hillbilly Travis Bickle, God’s lonely man, and that this is what attracted Paul Schrader to his story.

    But existential loneliness would hardly fly in mainstream country charts of the late 1940s, hence the revision.

  5. El Kid Says:

    Hank Williams blah blah blah – it’s fascinating stuff…anyone else thing hes the spitting image of George W. Bush??

  6. Eoin Says:

    That’s hardly surprising. He’s G.W. Bush’s maternal grandfather.

  7. El Kid Says:


  8. Eoin Says:

    Ha ha

    For my next trick

  9. The lonesome death of Hank Williams | Tripping Along The Ledge Says:

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