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Hank Thompson: Hank World: The Unissued World Transcriptions (1999) October 12, 2009

Posted by sjroby in Music.
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Hank Thompson: Hank World

Hank Thompson: Hank World

Another insufficiently-listened-to eMusic download! Back in 1999, insurgent country/alt.country label Bloodshot Records released this collection of material recorded by Hank Thompson back in the 1950s, as part of a Bloodshot Revival series of relatively forgotten old time country stars. It’s not his best known material, which was released on Capitol; instead, it’s a few alternate versions and a number of otherwise unavailable songs.

Laura and I have a few CDs of good ol’ country music that we really like, especially for long roadtrips — Webb Pierce, Lefty Frizzell, George Jones, Marty Robbins, and a few others. The more upbeat stuff is fun to sing along with and keep you awake when you’ve been on the road for hours. Plus, it reminds me of my childhood, when I loved my parents’ Marty Robbins and Eddy Arnolds albums, before I decided for a few years that country wasn’t cool. Seeing local Ottawa country revivalists like Lucky Ron and Lonesome Paul helped resurrect my love for the good  ol’ stuff.

So Hank is an obvious choice for our collection. We don’t have the stuff he’s best known for, but then we discovered, when my  mother heard it, that the first Webb Pierce we bought and played to death was partly made up of rerecorded versions, not originals, too. And we don’t have memories of the originals, so for now this’ll do. This is classic country: Hank’s voice, guitar, fiddle, pedal steel, standup bass, and drums, playing a range of ’50s country, some of it reminiscent of Webb and Lefty’s honkytonk stuff, sometimes reminding me of other Hanks, Snow and Williams. If there’s nothing that hooks me as instantly as Webb’s “There Stands the Glass,” well, Webb probably never did a Western Swing take on Benny Goodman’s “Don’t Be That Way,” either. Yep, there are some curveballs here, all right. But fun.

This stuff is really the product of another age. Country radio doesn’t play this kind of music now, instead focusing on stuff that might as well be middle of the road pop or slick ’70s rock. And frankly I’m probably still more likely to put on something more familiar than this when I’m in the mood for this kind of music, but I should definitely be listening to it more than once every couple of years. And I should check out some of Hank’s more famous recordings, too.

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