Hank Cochran

The Heart of Hank Cochran

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This is one great record, not only as a showcase for Hank Cochran's writing, which is a given, but also for Cochran as an interpreter of others' songs -- included is his debut Monument single, a rendition of Merle Haggard's "All of Me Belongs to You," which is as fine a performance as he brings to his own material. The mix of sounds on the album is a little bit odd, owing to the fact that the contents are derived from two rounds of sessions several years apart -- the early sides, from 1962-1963, are ballads done in a romantic countrypolitan manner for the Monument sub-label Gaylord Records, whilst the later sides from 1966 are set in a harder, more rocking honky tonk mode. Cochran turns in superb work in either genre, however, whether he's crooning "Just for the Record" or the mournful "I Just Burned a Dream," or bopping out a vivid tribute to "Tootsie's Orchid Lounge" (a real-life musicians' hangout). The 2005 Koch reissue, The Heart of Hank: The Monument Sessions, added a trio of tracks that were previously available only on Cochran's early Gaylord singles, but the original LP wasn't weak in the least -- Cochran's vocals are fully expressive and appealing, and the music holds up as solid mainline traditional country of the period, appealing in the same manner as Hank Locklin's work of the same era, only more expressive and covering a wider range.

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