Hank Thompson

Radio Broadcasts (1952)

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From one standpoint, a disc of single-take radio performances from Hank Thompson is superfluous, because Thompson recorded three official live albums for Capitol Records. On the other hand, this stuff -- cut for the U.S. government's Office of Price Stabilization in 1952 -- is a good deal earlier than any of Thompson's official live LPs, and so it captures his band and his sound at a choice point in their history. The sound is fairly clean, but raw and loud throughout this 16-song collection. The micing is close and the volume is high, so that one gets a sense of what Thompson's live sound of the period was like, rougher and crunchier than his studio sides. Dusty Stewart's steel guitar and Billy Gray's lead guitar are especially impressive, and Thompson's singing is extraordinary. The songs include "Shotgun Boogie," which Thompson had yet to record officially, as well as numbers by Hank Williams ("I Can't Help It"), Floyd Tillman ("I Gotta Have My Baby Back"), and others whom Thompson admired. It all greatly expands the range of available Thompson recordings, a welcome event in any case.

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