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Esco Hankins
Born:  January 1, 1924
Died:  November 18, 1990
WWVA Original Jamboree
WIBK Knoxville, TN
WKLX Bowling Green, KY
WLAP Lexington, KY
WROL Knoxville, TN

About The Artist

East Tennessee native Esco Hankins is best remembered for having a vocal style not unlike that of Roy Acuff. Although his early recording career was based largely on doing covers of Acuff numbers for King Record, there was actually much more to his career than that.

Like the "King of Country Music," Esco hailed from Maynardville, Tennessee and began his radio work in Knoxville via station WROL often under the sponsorship of legendary supermarket owner Cas Walker.

While most of his early records were of Acuff songs, his King offerings also included his best-known original "Mother Left Me Her Bible."

After several years in Knoxville, Hankins relocated to Lexington where he worked radio and recorded numbers for Mercury in 1951, most notably "I'm Praying for the Day Peace Will Come," a Hank Williams composition sold to Pee Wee King that Williams never recorded.

Continuing to live in Lexington for the remainder of his life, Hankins recorded a sacred album for the small REM label in the early sixties. A little later, Hankins joined the WWVA Jamboree and signed with Columbia and recorded several singles most notable a trucker song "Johnny Overload."

By this time, Esco's wife Jackie often appeared with him on stage as a duet partner. However, none of his efforts attained hit status and Esco thereafter confined his personal appearances to mostly churches in the Lexington area. He and Jackie recorded four sacred albums on the Jewel label. The couple maintained a close connection with the Gospel Tabernacle on Versailles Road.

In those years, he often worked weekdays in a used car lot while Jackie ran the Esco Hankins Record Shop in downtown Lexington. In 1982, he appeared at the Knoxville World's Fair as one of East Tennessee Country Radio Pioneers.

Credits & Sources

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Recordings (78rpm/45rpm)

 
Columbia
Rec. No. Side Song Title
  42822 A Ten Thousand Times
  42822 B Another Band
  43142 A What About You
  43142 B Empty Tomorrows
  43309 A Bad Girl
  43309 B Johnny Overload
  43446 A I'm Gone Again
  43446 B In Shackles And Chains
 
Federal
Rec. No. Side Song Title
  10029 A I'll Love You As Long As I Live
  10029 B What Else Can I Do
 
King
Rec. No. Side Song Title
  648 A The Precious Jewel
  648 B I'm Building A Home
  649 A What Good Will It Do
  649 B Glory Bound Train
  650 A Fire Ball Mail
  650 B The Rising Sun
  651 A Wreck On The Highway
  651 B No One Will Ever Know
  653 A Branded Wherever I Go
  653 B Title Unknown
  654 A Streamlined Cannonball
  654 B Title Unknown
  655 A Low And Lonely
  655 B Waiting For My Call To Glory
  730 A Daddy's Lullaby
  730 B Sweeter Than The Flowers
  757 A Longing For You To Come Home
  757 B Mother Left Me Her Bible
 
Sims
Rec. No. Side Song Title
  119 A God Threw Away The Pattern
  119 B Oh, So Afraid
 
Briar
Rec. No. Side Song Title
  144 A Someone Wants Her
  144 B Little Ring Of Gold


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