CL's holiday guide to the best box sets and free music downloads
The Unreleased Recordings
The Lonesome Highway just got a bit more populated. These 54 songs spread over three discs are one of the major finds in any style of music, but for country and western fans, they are essential. Hank Williams recorded these tunes in 1951 on cheap acetates to be played on his morning WSM radio slot while he was on the road. They sat collecting dust for decades and were nearly destroyed. An alert station employee retrieved them from a Dumpster, setting the stage for this and future boxes, which will be released next year. The sound has been restored and is now as vibrant as nearly anything in the existing Williams catalog. The set features a 40-page book with detailed track-by-track notes, explaining where and when Williams was first exposed to some of the gospel and folk covers he performs here for the only time on disc. Indispensable.
-- Hal Horowitz