Hank Williams was country music's first true superstar, and his songs were a remarkable synthesis of hillbilly elements with a dose of blues and gospel and a clear awareness of Tin Pan Alley techniques, all delivered with a postmodern sensibility that understood that sex and image were a big part of the whole package. He was also heavily conflicted -- much like later soul singers Marvin Gaye and Al Green -- between the secular and the sacred, even going so far as creating a separate persona, Luke the Drifter, to deliver a series of dark, frightening sermons on the dangers of yielding to Saturday night temptation. But yield Williams did, and this tortured soul turned his contradictions into stunning songs like the elegant "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" -- which is as tightly written as a haiku -- and the eerily prophetic "I'll Never Get Out of This World Alive." This two-disc set from ReCall Records offers ample proof of Williams' unique genius as classic song after classic song rolls by, including "Move It on Over," "Ramblin' Man," "Cold, Cold Heart," "Jambalaya (On the Bayou)," "Hey, Good Lookin'," and "Settin' the Woods on Fire." Hank Williams still remains the single most important artist in the history of country music, and the essential evidence is here in this two-disc set.
AllMusic Review by Steve Leggett
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2