Hank Locklin

Ways of Life

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Hank Locklin's only album release of 1963, Ways of Life is comprised primarily of ballads, interspersed with some jauntier numbers, all devoted -- as its title implies -- to life's mostly sad and ironic quirks. He's in fine voice and his backing band, featuring Floyd Cramer on piano and a coterie of guitarists, including Velma Williams Smith, Fred Carter, and Joseph W. Tanner, is worth hearing by itself on numbers such as "Kentucky Waltz" and "Candy Kisses." There might be a little energy lacking in the overall release, but the crisp, precise playing and Locklin's excellent singing (with fine and restrained vocal chorus accompaniment) just about make up for it. And the bouncy, ebullient "Rosalita" provides a rippling and memorable fulcrum midway through the album.

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