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 spooky "Six More Miles to the Graveyard," the beautiful "A Mansion on the Hill," 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." There are countless Hank Williams collections on the market, but this three-disc set manages to hit all the essentials while mining a little deeper into the catalog as well, making it an excellent and efficient introduction to one of America's greatest songwriters.
AllMusic Review by Steve Leggett
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2
Track Listing - Disc 3