Hank Williams

Blues Come Around

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Certain historical figures, like country music legend Hank Williams, loom so large they are difficult to write about. What can be said that hasn't already been offered by another writer? Likewise, how can a record label justify another collection by an artist whose music has been so frequently repackaged and reissued? The answer, apparently, is quite simple: concentrate on an aspect of Williams' style that has been under-recognized. Blues Come Around does just that, emphasizing his connection -- and country music's connection -- to the blues. The titles alone -- "Moanin' the Blues," "Blues Come Around," and "Lovesick Blues" -- go a long way toward convincing the listener that this man had a bad case of the you-know-whats. Certain songs, like "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" and "Move It on Over," retain a blues structure as well as typical blues subject matter. In fact, the characters that inhabit most of Williams' songs live sad lives. They cheat on their women, and their women cheat on them; they make the wrong choices and know they're bound to hell; they attend weddings, but only to watch their true love marry someone else. Songs about these lowdown lonesome characters couldn't help but be partially tinged with the blues. The string bending of the steel guitar and lonesome moan of the fiddle add a dusty-Delta atmosphere to these proceedings. Blues Come Around serves to remind country fans just how important the Piedmont and Delta sounds were to the formation of their music. It also succeeds by emphasizing a number of lesser-known gems and ignoring Williams' more familiar hits. Blues Come Around is a fine collection.

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