On a warm, muggy southern evening in 1947, the Almeria Club, decorated with sweat and musical appreciation, hosted a gathering of unbelievable music and mayhem
The mugginess of the night had cigarette smoke dancing in mid-air. Incredible music permeated its wooden walls. Story goes an irate boyfriend busted into the Almeria looking for his sweetheart who was at the joint jiving with someone she shouldn’t have been.
Tensions rose. Then gunshots.
Hank Sr. and “Miss Audrey” jumped out a backstage window and escaped through the thicket and nearby woods.
On a warm, muggy southern evening in the 21st century, The Almeria Club, decorated with sweat and musical appreciation, hosted a gathering of unbelievable music and perhaps a little mayhem...
"When I heard that story, that just did it for me. I just had to record my album at the Almeria Club even though you could see the dirt through the cracks and there were poisonous snakes living under the floor." The Almeria Club, a one hundred plus year old gem, served its role as a schoolhouse, a social club and now recording studio. "The acoustics were perfect," says Hank Williams Jr.
From the schoolhouse, learn about the lives of Thunderhead Hawkins or Rufus Payne, the gentleman credited with instructing a very young Hank Sr. about music and how to play the guitar. From the social club, mingle with the diversity of music... bluesy, soulful, acoustic folk and country featuring the likes of Kid Rock and Nickel Creek. From the recording studio, discover a taste of yet another chapter from one of the most influential artists in all of music history.
The Road to the Ameria Club:
In January, Hank Williams Jr. was invited to a fish fry near his property in Troy, Alabama at a community center called the Almeria Club. The former schoolhouse, built in 1907, is in the Ameria Community of Bullock County. Hank had heard stories about a fight that had broken out there during a performance by his famous father in 1947. According to the story, related by an old gentleman who told Hank he was there, an irate husband or boyfriend busted into the building looking for his sweetheart, who was apparently at the concert with someone she shouldn’t have been. When the man pulled out a gun, Hank Sr. and “Miss Audrey” jumped out a window backstage and ran though the woods to escape the gunfire.
Hank decided he wanted to begin work on his new album right there in that same building where his parents had performed. Two months later, in a 24-hour span, the former one-room school house was transformed into a recording studio. According to Hank, all the Almeria Club building took was some additional power. The acoustics were absolutely perfect.
In addition to the Ameria Club session, recording for the song “Cross On The Highway”, was done with Bishop Marvin E. Donaldson at The Greater Pentecostal Temple in Kansas City, Kansas, where Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Derrick Thomas’ memorial service was held.
The nest stop was the stage at the Municipal Auditorium in Shreveport, Louisiana, which once housed the Louisiana Hayride, a KWKH radio show known as “The Cradle of the Stars”. Hank Sr.’s career was launched there when he joined the Hayride in August 1948. Soon after, Hank Sr. moved to Shreveport, and Randall Hank Williams was born there May 26, 1949.
Hank and Chuck Howard co-produced this project, consisting of some great country blues - with a high-end acoustic feel. It features a combinatio of fiddle, banjo, upright piano and slide guitar, played by musicians who were brought in from Los Angeles, Nashville and Austin, Texas. While many of these musicians have never played with Hank before, they are listed in the Who’s Who of top musicians in the recording world.
Almeria Community Club
In 1909 the Almeria School, a one-room school house, was erected in the small community of Almeria, Alabama in Bullock County. Another room was added in 1915, that is now the stage of the current Almeria Community Club. When the students from Almeria School were moved to Inverness in 1946, the building was purchased from the state and became a community club. In the 1950’s the Almeria Club won numerous awards for best community exhibits at the Alabama State Fair. Through the years, to raise money for improvements, the club has been used as a headquaters for a Fox Hunter’s Club, for barbecues, and it currently furnishes a place for many community activities.
The Louisiana Hayride originated in Shreveport, April 3, 1948. Its first big star was Hank Williams. The Hayride-Hank combination put them both on the map as thousands cheered every Saturday night to the remarkable performance of Hank’s “Lovesick Blues”. The show established itself as the “Cradle of the Stars”, a place where careers were made. In its first ten years, in addition to Hank, it launched the stardom of Webb Pierce, Faron Young, Slim Whitman, Kitty Wells, Carl Smith, Johnny Horton, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Bob Luman and a host of singers, songwriters, musicians, producers, publishers and business agents who make up a community of legends within the American music world.
Musicians contributing to the album at the Almeria Club and Shreveport sessions were:
Re’chard (Ricky) Fataar - Drums
James “Hutch” Hutchinson - Bass
Reese Wynans - Piano, Hammond B3 Organ
Rick Vito - Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Dobro
James Burton - Electric Guitar
Almeria Club session:
Tramp Camp - Fiddle, Mandolin
Kansas City Session:
The Greater Pentecostal Temple Choir And Band
Jimmy Hall - Harmonica
Donny Herron - Lap Steel Guitar, Fiddle
Wayne “Animal” Turner - Electric Guitar
“Cowboy” Eddie Long - Steel Guitar
Jimmy Nichols - Keyboard
Heidi Newfield - Harmonica
Ira Dean - Bass, Harmony Vocals, Horn
Larry Franklin - Fiddle
James Horn - Sax
Steve Herrmon - Trumpet
John Hinchey - Trombone
Kid Rock - Background Vocals, Electric Guitar
Kenny Olson - Electric Guitar
Jimmie “Bones” Trombly - Background Vocals
Chris Thile - Mandolin
Sara Watkins - Fiddle
Sean Watkins - Acoustic Guitar
Almeria, AL - March 19-23, 2001
(The Almeria Club - Est. 1909)
Ms. Zelda Mae
Chris Neal & Neil Pond -
Country Weekly Magazine
Alice Harp - Historian
Sheriff Russell Thomas & Deputies (Pike County)
Jeff Watkins, Daniel Majorie - Engineers
Cecil & Betty Jackson - Hank Williams Museum (Montgomery, AL)
Sisters Restaurant Catering (Troy, AL)
CMT “Inside Fame”
Kansas City, KS - March 3, 2001
The Greater Pentecostal Temple
Bishop Marvin E. Donaldson
Greater Pentecostal Choir & Musicians
Kathy Gangwisch - Photographer
Hector Sierra - Photographer of Derrick Thomas & Hank Jr.
Shreveport, LA - May 8-10, 2001
(Louisiana Hayride Stage in the Municipal Auditorium)
Maggie & Alton Warwick - Shreveport Louisiana Hayride Co. LLC
Gene Haynes/Joh Mayewski - Casino Magic Limo Service (Bossier City, LA)
Tillman Franks (for the use of his famous stand-up bass fiddle)
Ralph & Koco’s Restaurant Catering (Bossier City, LA)
Municipal Auditorium (Shreveport, LA) - Joe Brown
Other special thanks to:
Aunt Loretta Fleming (Audrey’s sister)
Aunt Lela Griffin (Hank Sr.s’s sister)
The staff of Hank Williams Jr. Enterprises
Gibson Music Instruments, Dean Markley Strings, GHS Strings, Reavey Electronics
Daniel Majorie - Photography in Almeria and Shreveport
Bobby Tomberlin - The Audrey Williams/Hank Jr. (age 9) introduction to “If The Good Lord’s Willin’ (And The Creeks Don’t Rise)”
Merle Kilgore Management
2 Music Circle South
Nashville, TN 37203
Phone: 615/472-3622 or 731/642-745
William Morris Agency
2100 West End Ave., Ste. 1000
Nashville, TN 37203
Hank Williams Jr. Fan Club
P.O. Box 850
Paris, TN 38242
Art Direction/Design: Glenn Sweitzer - Fresh Design, Nashville
(C) 2002 (P) 2002 Curb Records Inc. Manufactured and distributed by Curb Records Inc.
Nashville, TN 37203.
Printed in the USA.
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