Various Artists: The Lost Notebooks of Hank Williams (Egyptian/Sony)

 |   |  <1 min read

Lucinda Williams: I'm So Happy I Found You
Various Artists: The Lost Notebooks of Hank Williams (Egyptian/Sony)

Just as Wilco and Billy Bragg teamed up in the 90s and set to music unrecorded lyrics by Woody Guthrie (the two volumes of Mermaid Avenue), so here unrecorded songs by country legend Hank Williams (1923-53) are given life.

Apparently Bob Dylan intended to do the project himself but, perhaps wisely, called in sympathetic heavy hitters (Norah Jones, Jack White, Vince Gill with Rodney Crowell among them) and released this on his own label.

Unlike the Bragg/Wilco project where Guthrie's lyrics were given contemporary-sounding settings, most here remain faithful to Williams' often heart-aching, simple style: Alan Jackson (with fiddle and steel guitar) connects directly to Williams' dark twang on You've Been Lonesome Too, Dylan brings a light dance step to The Love That Faded, Lucinda Williams pulls out a tear-stained solo performance for I'm So Happy I Found You, Jones locates How Many Times in a lonely cantina and Patty Loveless also gets in fiddle and lap steel for the old time You're Through Fooling Me.

Hank's lyrics were often emotionally direct which is why his classics (Cold Cold Heart, Your Cheatin' Heart, I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry) are still relevant. Many here are their equal – You'll Never Be Mine Again (by Levon Helm); Angel Mine (Sheryl Crow) – which makes this a valuable, emotionally intense project which closes with Merle Haggard's moral narrative The Sermon on the Mount, the only truly disappointing track here.

Like the sound of this? Then check out this.

Share It

Your Comments

Tami Neilson - Nov 1, 2011

Wow- what a gem, to get some new Hank songs! Thanks SO much for sharing this. Can't wait to get my hands on a copy...which may be a mission in Auckland music stores (yes, yes, I know iTunes will have it, but call me old fashioned, I love a hard copy with artwork!)

Clive - Nov 1, 2011

Agree with Tami(loved your "Kitchen Table Sessions") I also love a hard copy with artwork and like Chrissie Hynde said about the first Hendrix record 'I wanted to have that thing in my hand ,to touch it etc etc".The Hank is great,done in true Hank style with brilliant performances by Bob,Nora,Patty,levon and Sheryl.You can get the Cd easily in the city,I wont advertise but you will know where

John Ringer - Nov 1, 2011

Sublime!

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Maps: We Can Create (EMI)

Maps: We Can Create (EMI)

Some may find the constantly applied stage-whisper vocals here a little samey over the long haul, but for me it fits perfectly with the ambient, atmospheric-rock of Maps which swells to panoramic... > Read more

Melissa Etheridge: Fearless Love (Island)

Melissa Etheridge: Fearless Love (Island)

From the opening title track here – a windblown open-road rocker and statement of ferocious independence – Etheridge confirms her credentials as someone who performs open-heart... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Guangzhou, China: The sour smell of respect

Guangzhou, China: The sour smell of respect

When you travel to foreign parts it is good to be respectful of local customs, and usually they are common courtesies or pretty obvious: you don’t wear shorts or a halter-top to St Peters --... > Read more

BETWEEN THE LIVES: PARTNERS IN ART edited by DEBORAH SHEPARD REVIEWED (2005): Lives in the margins

BETWEEN THE LIVES: PARTNERS IN ART edited by DEBORAH SHEPARD REVIEWED (2005): Lives in the margins

An intimate relationship between creative people may be as volatile and destructive as it can be productive and rewarding. And almost inevitably one partner, for reasons of success or force of... > Read more