About The Artist
Hank Locklin arrived in this world in the town of McClellan, Florida. He never did stray very far from those roots - settling in Brewster, Alabama in the later years of his life where he died in March 2009. When he was all of ten years old he was already giving his family of what lay ahead for him - writing songs, singing and playing the guitar.
He started his musical journey practically right out of high school in Munson, Florida working at stations WCOA over in Pensacola and shortly after that, WDLP in Panama City.
Folks began to discover Hank Locklin in the late 1940s. Chaw Mank answered a reader's point blank question in one of his question and answer columns, "Who is Hank Locklin?". It is there we begin the trail of his career. In 1947, he was working on KTHS in Hot Springs, Arkansas as part of the group behind Joe Avants.
A couple of years later, he met up with Harold Daily of the South Coast Amusement Company in the Houston area and played him some of his compositions. Mr. Daily was duly impressed and took the songs with him to California. There he arranged to have the Four Star record label to try a test release with his tune that became a hit - "The Same Sweet Girl" which rose to the Top 10 on the Billboard charts. The Houston radio audience was able to hear Hank over KLEE each day at 12:45.
Around 1954 or so, he was one of the regular performers on the Houston Hometown Jamboree being heard over KNUZ and KNUZ-TV in Houston, Texas. Pete Hunter was the emcee of that show that featured other talented acts such as Arlie Duff, Biff Collie, Patsy Elshire and Blackie Crawford.
On May 1, 1954, Hank and Tommy Sands were a few of the guests on a new show that was airing over WBAP in Fort Worth, The All Star Country Roadshow. That show was to run five hours on Saturday nights. Chuck Wells and his five-piece band were to be regulars on the show along with the Imperial Quartet. Glenn Rich and Mickey Murphy were sharing the emcee duties on the show. The 1954 article indicated it was on WBAP at the 820 spot on the dial until 10:00pm when it switched to the 570 spot on the dial. Of course, today WBAP is well known as a clear channel station that reached far and wide.
He began to also develop his songwriting talents in those early years of his career. The tune he co-wrote with Slim Willet, was one of Slim's first songwriting efforts. In one of those 20-question type articles in 1954, Hank told readers he had written over 150 songs by 1954. He indicated he had also written a couple of gospel tunes.
Hank became a regular on the Big D Jamboree out of Dallas, Texas. His fan club representative, Mrs. J. C. Jeanes, told Country Song Roundup readers that the Big D Jamboree show aired from 8:00pm to midnight on Saturday nights. After that show, he would find the time to make it back to Houston where he had a show on KTRK-TV, channel 13 for his show from 5:00pm to 5:30pm.
The year of 1954 saw Nashville reaching out to him. Carl Smith had him on as a guest on the Prince Albert sponsored portion of the Grand Ole Opry over WSM on June 26, 1954.
In a January 1959 article, Hank was cited as one of Country Song Roundup's favorite country artists at a time when Rockabilly was also getting attention. They told fans that their favorite artists seemed to be doing those 'pure country' tunes again - such as Ray Price, Marty Robbins, Webb Pierce, Carl Smith and Johnny Cash.
He was noted to have a very famous collection of old phonographs and old records, that dated back to the very first recordings at the turn of the century.
He married the former Willa Jean Murphy in 1938.
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