The Hank Williams Songbook [Varese]

This entertaining collection of songs made famous by Hank Williams showcases some impassioned takes from some pretty spectacular artists. Johnny Cash's cool walkthrough "Hey Good Lookin'" has all of the swagger that the Man in Black's original Sun recordings had in spadefuls, while Del Shannon's soul-tearing rendition of "Ramblin' Man" is somehow even more lonesome than Williams' original. Jerry Lee Lewis' predatory stomp through "Long Gone Lonesome Blues" is a lot sexier than was originally intended, while B.J. Thomas' soulful "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" is more like a Stax torch song than a country classic. Despite somewhat uneven sound quality (it seems as though some tracks were taken from old masters or even LPs), each of the songs on this compilation show another side of the music of Hank Williams, as seen through the eyes of some of country's greatest performers. ~ Zac Johnson

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