The The: I'm a Long Gone Daddy (1994)

 |   |  1 min read

The The: I'm a Long Gone Daddy (1994)

Any number of country artists have lined up to pay tribute to the great Hank Williams whose career was cut short in 1952 at age 29 when he was found dead in the back of his car through a combination of drugs, alcohol and his lifestyle.

In six short years Williams wrote songs which went from hoe-down party music (Jambalaya, Hey Good Lookin') to deep melancholy (Cold Cold Heart, Your Cheatin' Heart). Little wonder then his songs have become such a touchstone in country music.

But one of the more unusual, certainly unexpected, tribute albums came in the form of Hanky Panky by The The, a band which was a post-punk vehicle for UK singer-songwriter Matt Johnson whose Soul Mining debut album (as The The) of '83 sprung some minor classics in This is the Day, Uncertain Smile and Perfect.

A decade later with a very different band again, Johnson went into the studio for what was an obviously genuine tribute to Williams -- and not just the songs but the spirit of the man which was often plagued with demons.

As Johnson said in his liner notes, "Though not a formally educated man, Williams was articulate in the language of the heart and one senses a weird kind of alchemy at work as he transformed pure, undiluted pain into simple songs of such profound truth and beauty that they touched and uplifted (and continue to touch and uplift) the souls of millions".

On this version of a Williams' classic, Johnson and the band offer a disturbed treatment and drag this closer to what U2 in their Achtung Baby/Zooropa period -- or Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds -- might have done with it.

For more oddities, one-offs or songs with an interesting backstory check the daily updates at From the Vaults.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   From the Vaults articles index

Freur: Pronunciation/Audiobiography/Hold Me Mother (1983)

Freur: Pronunciation/Audiobiography/Hold Me Mother (1983)

A decade before Prince became TAFKAP (The Artist Formerly Known As Prince) and adopted an odd symbol instead of a name, this band of mysterious origins also did the same. They insisted their... > Read more

Lou Reed: Foot of Pride (1992)

Lou Reed: Foot of Pride (1992)

At the time of the 30th anniversary concert celebration at Madison Square Garden in October '92 of Bob Dylan's debut album -- with a happy Dylan performing -- few would have thought the subject of... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Howard Devoto of Magazine: The floorboards creak . . .

Howard Devoto of Magazine: The floorboards creak . . .

Back at the dawn of time -- for two periods in 1980 and 1981 to be precise -- I had a programme on Radio Pacific on Saturday evening, sandwiched between the Rugger Buggers sports show and, of all... > Read more

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . THE BEVIS FROND: Scuz me while we kiss this guy

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . THE BEVIS FROND: Scuz me while we kiss this guy

For a man with his name on almost 30 albums in the past three decades, you'd think the name Nick Saloman would be pretty well known. Okay, the albums all come under his band's name, but even... > Read more