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.
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