Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Dallas Morning News

Hank Williams, The Unreleased Recordings (Time Life Entertainment, $39.98)

The story of these 54 songs spread over three CDs is worth the price of the box.

The late Hank Williams recorded a series of shows, some 72 of them, for WSM radio back in 1951, a mere two years before his death. The legendary station was about to dump those acetates. But a photographer for WSM's Grand Ole Opry saved them from the trash and handed them to Jett Williams, Hank's daughter.

Extensive legal wrangling later, we have this handsome book-style box featuring an essay by Jett and thoughtful song annotations by music historian Colin Escott.

All that pales in comparison to the restored quality. It's astounding how crisp, clear and high-lonesome ol' Hank sounds. It's as if he were singing right next to you. 

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