Monday, December 22, 2008 Review

Perhaps the greatest classic
country discovery to date

Hank Williams - The Unreleased Recordings
(Time Life)
4 1/2 stars (out of 5 stars)
Reviewed: Dec. 16, 2008
Hank Williams

Review by Andy Argyrakis

So many posthumous projects are released by unauthorized outlets as bootlegs or with such poor sound quality they're not even worth purchasing. Not only does Hank Williams' brand new box set The Unreleased Recordings (Time Life) come with full approval from his estate, but it boasts fifty-four tracks in fairly high quality sound that was especially impressive for the retro time frame. The performances come from various 1951WSM radio shows, including several alternative versions of ultra famous hits, plus songs that have never seen the light of day until now.

In the former category, "Hey, Good Lookin'," "Cold, Cold Heart" and "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" sound stellar with a little extra southern fried passion brewing during these broadcasts. And as would be expected, Williams' unmistakable voice is always overflowing with a charming drawl that's rubbed off on nearly every one the style's current stars to some degree. But perhaps even more intriguing to die-hard fans are tunes being heard for the very first time since originally airing, including "Cool Water," "Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain" and "Cherokee Boogie." Though many troubadour's b-sides are generally best left on the shelf, Williams' charming signing and emotive lyrical interpretations are just as superb on these obscure selections as they are during more commercial material.

Beyond the musical content packed within the project, there's also a handsome book loaded with extensive biographical notes and stories behind each song. There are also countless photos from the family's personal achieve, helping pinpoint the historical nature of this set all the more effectively. In fact, the collection as a whole is such a prize for die-hard fans that it genuinely lives up to its advertising slogan of the "greatest discovery ever" when it comes to classic country music.

1 comment:

Tina said...

I am so happy to hear about a new release about Hank Williams. We have to hold on to the past as much as we have to grasp onto the future. Even though I am not crazy about the new music that is out now 'cause to me it has lost a lot of the heart sound and the bands seem to be to strong and drown out the true feelings of the vocals. The songs of Hank tell stories about the heart and the life of Hank along with the tragedy and we all felt it and felt for him. Cudos to the producers of this incredible collection.