Hank Williams, Jr.

My Own Way

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Hank Williams, Jr. continued in his efforts to step out from under his father's shadow and find his own voice on the appropriately titled My Own Way. The affected Hank Sr. impression heard on many of his early recordings is almost gone; in its place is a mature sound much older than Williams' actual age of 18. The album produced three minor hits, but the country audience didn't quite know what to make of Williams at this point. His best selling albums in the '60s were the ones on which he sang his father's songs or directly addressed his legacy, and he wouldn't break through as a major artist until he reinvented himself as a larger-than-life hell-raiser in the late '70s. On My Own Way he mostly aspires to be a straightforward country singer in a style that falls somewhere between Bobby Bare and Carl Smith, singing hard country songs with a pop chorus. Hank Jr.'s own "I'm Gonna Break Your Heart" and the partly spoken "Nobody's Child" are exceptions -- Williams incongruously reprises his Hank Sr. voice even though it sounds nothing like the singer heard elsewhere on the album. The defiant "I Can't Take It No Longer" is notable for sounding more like his later recordings than anything he had done up to that point. My Own Way is an intriguing transitional album that foreshadows the coming of Bocephus.

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