Hank Wangford & The Lost Cowboys
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About Hank Wangford & The Lost Cowboys
b. Samuel Hutt, 15 November 1940, Wangford, Suffolk, England. Wangford’s father, Allen Hutt, was chief sub-editor of the communist newspaper The Daily Worker and president of the National Union of Journalists. His mother taught English to Russian students. Wangford studied medicine at Cambridge University and later became a doctor. He was converted to country music by Gram Parsons whose girlfriend attended Hutt for treatment in 1971. After a period in the USA, Wangford became gradually more involved in country music and, despite the demands of his professional work, yearned to be a performer. When his girlfriend married his best friend, he consoled himself in a pub near the Wangford bypass in Suffolk. Here he devised the character of Hank Wangford, who would sing songs from the Wangford Hall of Pain. He says, ‘Hank Wangford was a good name for the classic country star. He sings about pain, he sings about heartache, and that was good because Sam could go on living and being normal.’ Starting in 1976, Wangford built a reputation on the London pub-rock circuit.
His persona was both a glorification of country music and an affectionate parody of its excesses. He formed Sincere Management (motto: ‘It’s in the post.’) and Sincere Products (‘Brought to you with no regard for quality’). Wangford generated publicity as a gynaecologist-cum-country singer, often being photographed with a Harley Street sign. His media image, however, has proved more sustainable than the lightweight music which, in fairness, is highly successful in the pub/club environment. ‘Chicken Rhythm’ is derived from Ray Stevens’ quirky ‘In The Mood’, and ‘Cowboys Stay On Longer’ is a close cousin to David Allan Coe’s ‘Divers Do It Deeper’. Wangford has always been able to surround himself with talented band members, notably Andy Roberts (Brad Breath) and Melanie Harrold (Irma Cetas), who have more musical talent. His fiddler and co-singer, former member of the Fabulous Poodles and Clark Gable lookalike, Bobby Valentino, later embarked on a solo career. Wangford, with his ponytail, stubble and gap-toothed features is an engaging entertainer, creating a stage show, ‘Radio Wang’, and presenting two country music series for Channel 4 Television. He continues to work in women’s healthcare and lectures and trains doctors and nurses in the UK and abroad. He says, ‘I have had letters of referral from doctors which start “Dear Dr. Wangford”, so the transmogrification is complete.’
- Wangford, Suffolk, England
- 15 Nov 1940