Hank Williams completely redefined country music and moved it into the modern arena in the years just after World War II, and his infectious, confessional, and brilliantly written songs of hard love and hard drinkin' still remain the center template for country music in the 21st century. Williams lived his life so close to his honky tonk persona that in the end it is impossible to tell where one ended and the other began, making his story a postmodern one of the anti-hero with tragic flaws who wins because he first 'songs are succinct, folksy gems that sketch out a timeless honky tonk soap opera with Williams at the center, but what saves them from being set pieces are the very real and basic emotions that Williams spotlights in song after song. The best of them are simply brilliant expressions of loneliness and a desperate longing for redemption. This concise, 11-track collects some of Williams' best and most timeless recordings, including "Move It on Over," "Honky Tonkin'," "Jambalaya (On the Bayou)," "Hey, Good Lookin'," "I Saw the Light," the sharp-as-a-haiku "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry," and the eerily prescient "I'll Never Get Out of This World Alive," among others. There are more comprehensive collections out there, but this one pares things down to nothing but gems.
AllMusic Review by Steve Leggett