Hank Williams - I Heard That Lonesome Whistle

First performance: 29/08/1978


Bruce covered the song 2 times:
1978-09-20 Capitol Theatre, Passaic, NJ 
Prior to this show Bruce soundchecked the song on 20th of september during a fascinating soundcheck, taped from outside the venue before the show. In the middle of a three-night stand at the Capitol, Bruce works through several Hank Williams and other classics.
Covers Soundcheck:


"(I Heard That) Lonesome Whistle" is a song written by Hank Williams and Jimmie Davis. ( 1951 ) . It is unclear when he and Hank Williams wrote "(I Heard That) Lonesome Whistle"; on one of his Mother's Best radio shows, recorded between January and March 1951, Williams tells his audience that he's going fishing with Jimmie Davis the next week, so the song may have been composed then. Containing two of country music's major themes, trains and prison, the song is notable for the way Hank mimics the sound of a train whistle on the word "lonesome." The song was likely an inspiration for Johnny Cash's "Folsom Prison Blues."

Bruce on the artist

During the keynote speech at the 2012 South by Southwest music conference : 
"I remember sitting in my little apartment, playing "Hank Williams Greatest Hits" over and over. And I was trying to crack its code, because at first it just didn't sound good to me. It just sounded cranky and old–fashioned. But it was that hard country voice and I'm playing it, and it was an austere instrumentation. But slowly, slowly, my ears became accustomed to it, it's beautiful simplicity, and it's darkness and depth. And Hank Williams went from archival, to alive for me, before my very eyes."
Bruce also referes in some songs to lyrics from Williams 
I went down to the river to watch the fish swim by
But when I got to the river so lonesome I wanted to die, oh Lord
So that I jumped in the river, but the doggone river was dry
She's long gone, and now I'm lonesome blue


I was riding Number Nine
Heading south from Caroline
I heard that lonesome whistle blow
Got in trouble, had to roam
Left my gal an' left my home
I heard that lonesome whistle blow
Just a kid, acting smart
I went and broke my darling's heart
I guess I was too young to know
They took me off the Georgia Main
Locked me to a ball and chain
I heard that lonesome whistle blow
All alone, I bear the shame
I'm a number, not a name
I heard that lonesome whistle blow
All I do is sit an' cry
When the evening train goes by
I heard that lonesome whistle blow
I'll be locked here in this cell
'Till my body's just a shell
An' my hair turns whiter than snow
I'll never see that gal of mine
Lord, I'm in Georgia doing time
I heard that lonesome whistle blow