Saturday, September 17, 2011

Hank Williams--Hey Good Lookin' (1951)

     As a child, I remember the two album set that my daddy owned. It had a purple label and the music was a foreign to me as anything I had ever heard. At the time my listening experiences had been AM radio, and dad listened to country, but nothing had prepared me for hearing this yodeling and this voice that seemed to bounce around like a yo-yo at times. But there was something sweet about the vocals, actually it was downright poetic....that was my first introduction to Hank Williams Sr.

      One of the reasons that Hank Sr is still seen as the touchstones of country music  was his ability to take the life and loves of common folk and boil it down in a lyrical style that is almost poetic. His mannerism and vocal delivery screams country, but the songs themselves go far beyond classification. This was to his advantage as many pop singers covered his songs, but it also laid the foundation down for every singer/songwriter who wanted to be "of the people". Merle Haggard, Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson,  Garth Brooks all have Hank as their lyrical touchstone.

       It's hard to imagine what country music would have been like had Williams not died so young. On the other hand, his legend might not have been as secured if his passing not been while he was still churning out classic songs. For those who are living now on a diet of what "country radio" has and you want to hear what real country was all about....start right here.


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