Entry count: 2400
Hank Williams favourite song

Reverend Edward Clayborn

Death Is Only A Dream

Released: April 23rd, 1927

Tracks Reverend Edward Clayborn

The events we write about at Gaslight Records happened in some form or another 50 years ago to the day. Roll along with us and imagine you are back in 1969.

Support Gaslight Records

In 1952, Hank Williams, the man who Bob Dylan once called the greatest songwriter that ever lived, said in an interview that his all time favourite song was "Death Is Only A Dream". In the same interview, Williams also remarked that his favourite food was fried chicken, that he learnt guitar from an old negro, and that his hobby was...writing songs.

Hank Williams favourite song
Hank Williams circa 1952

The lyrics for "Death Is No More Than A Dream" were first written by Reverend C.W Ray and published in Living Songs For The Sunday School in 1892. Although very little was documented about songwriters like Ray, we do know that he was from Mississippi. And given the great number of timeless Gospel classics that came out of MS in the nineteenth century, one could be forgiven for concluding that something ethereal or divine was in the air down there.

It's certainly true that during the 1900s Mississippi was a place of both profound pleasure and turmoil - its position as "the Golden Buckle on the Cotton Belt" of America meant great wealth and prosperity for some; while the state's oppression of southern blacks and Chickasaw Indian tribes meant great pain for others. As history tells us, conditions that yield both agony and ecstasy have also been perpetually responsible for birthing great works of art.

Reverend Edward Clayborn, also known as 'The Guitar Evangelist', recorded "Death Is Only A Dream" in 1927. His version was re-released in 2006 by Mississippi Records on the blues compilation album Last Kind Words (well worth tracking down a copy if you haven't heard it).

The song reached the airwaves when The Carter Family picked it up in 1939. But Clayborn's was surely the definitive version.

More recent news

Watch Roy Orbison perform 'Oh, Pretty Woman' with Johnny Cash last week

News

October 4th, 1969: Watch Roy Orbison perform "Oh, Pretty Woman" with Johnny Cash last week

Orbison appeared on The Johnny Cash Show in Nashville

 
Mixtape October 1969

Mixtapes

October 1st, 1969: Mixtape October 1969

It's the end of Summer 1969, here's what I'm listening to.

 
Tyrannosaurus Rex released a new single 'Pewter Suitor' this week - Listen

News

October 1st, 1969: Tyrannosaurus Rex released a new single "Pewter Suitor" this week - Listen

The new single was left off the band's album Unicorn, from earlier this year.

 
'I was just about all through as a man' Johnny Cash talks to Richard Green of NME

Interviews

October 1st, 1969: "I was just about all through as a man" Johnny Cash talks to Richard Green of NME

Cash gave a brief interview recently while visiting London

 
The Beatles have released their new album Abbey Road - Listen

News

September 26th, 1969: The Beatles have released their new album Abbey Road - Listen

In the same week as John Lennon quit the band, The Beatles have released a new album

 
Listen to alternate takes of Bob Dylan's 'Lay Lady Lay' and 'I Pity The Poor Immigrant'

News

September 26th, 1969: Listen to alternate takes of Bob Dylan's "Lay Lady Lay" and "I Pity The Poor Immigrant"

Alternate cuts of tracks from Dylan's last two albums

 
Billy Preston releases new album produced by George Harrison: Listen

News

September 26th, 1969: Billy Preston releases new album produced by George Harrison: Listen

His new album features contributions from George Harrison, Keith Richards, Eric Clapton and Doris Troy

 
The Doors headlined the Toronto Rock 'n' Roll Revival last Saturday night

News

September 24th, 1969: The Doors headlined the Toronto Rock 'n' Roll Revival last Saturday night

With John Lennon watching from the front row, The Doors included part of "Eleanor Rigby" in their solo - Listen

 
The Band release follow-up album to Music From Big Pink - Listen

News

September 23rd, 1969: The Band release follow-up album to Music From Big Pink - Listen

The new self-titled album was recorded in Los Angeles and New York this year. Read a review by Mike Jahn and find the group's upcoming tour dates.

 
Watch Creedence Clearwater Revival perform on American Bandstand last Friday

News

September 23rd, 1969: Watch Creedence Clearwater Revival perform on American Bandstand last Friday

CCR interviewed with Dick Clark and performed "Green River"

 
'The group's over, I'm leaving.' John Lennon quits The Beatles

News

September 23rd, 1969: "The group's over, I'm leaving." John Lennon quits The Beatles

John Lennon, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr were signing their new recording contract when Lennon dropped the news

 
Watch Ramblin' Jack Elliott perform on 'The Johnny Cash Show' last night

News

September 19th, 1969: Watch Ramblin' Jack Elliott perform on "The Johnny Cash Show" last night

Ramblin' Jack and Cash performed a duet of "Take Me Home"

 
Loading more