Hank Williams Sr. gave a nickname to his son, Hank Willliams Jr., ”Bocephus”
because he believed his son looked like a little puppet.
It is after a Grand Ole Opry comedian’s ventriloquist dummy. Passing away at an early age, we can say Hank Sr. never really had the chance to be with his son for long.
Not until his little puppet restored one of his never released songs, 36 years after his death, with the two of them in it.
Hillbilly Shakespeare was Against It
In the year 1950, Hank Williams Sr. wrote and recorded the song during one of his Nashville sessions. Unlike any other singers, he was certain not to release it back then. He wrote many great gospel, country, and country-blues songs. It was believed that he was alcoholic, but it’s a song he never released that is his most curious.
The song is about a man drinking and crying over a lost love. He sheds “a million tears” on his “last nine beers.”
But Bocephus Made It Happen
Many years later, in 1989, the original song was released. It placed #7 in the 1989 US Hot Country Songs. Through electronic integration technology, a duet version of the father-son tandem was possible. It enchantingly paired the two Hanks using old black and white video slides of Hanks Sr. Together with The Hillbilly Shakespeare’s original recording using a guitar, Bocephus and his band humbly filled in some parts. He sang his vocal shares around his father’s voice. Starting, Hank Jr. performs the song alone until he hears vocals coming from behind a door near him. He opens the door and finds his father, Hank Sr. singing with his band – from old footage of a performance. At the end of the video, Bocephus walks through the door and mystically performs by The Hillbilly Shakespeare’s side to finish the song together. It’s pretty strange coming up with some sort of recording wizardry, but it definitely made an enticing vocal collaboration.
Receiving the 1990 Academy of Country Music (ACM) Awards for Top Video of The Year, Hank Williams Jr. cited that his father left him such a big hit. He also introduced the director of the video and read a poem for his father. He said,
“Hey good-looking I’m so lonesome I could cry your cheating heart,
After all this time you’re still up there in the chart
And there’s another place where you’ll always be,
And that’s right here in our hearts
From all your fans and me”.
hank williams, tear in my beer
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