Sunday, January 10, 2010

Hank Williams - Greatest Hits

Hank Williams – Greatest Hits
MGM, 1961
Acquired: Goodwill (Olathe, KS), Used, 2004
Price: $2

Not to blaspheme, but it's fun to think of Hank Williams as the pioneer of Emo. Look at the song titles! “Cold, Cold Heart,” “Take These Chains From My Heart,” “Your Cheatin' Heart,” “There'll Be No Tear-Drops Tonight,” “Why Don't You Love Me,” “I'm so Lonesome I Could Cry.” All of these would seem at home on the next Dashboard Confessional record. Maybe Chris Carraba should do a Hank Williams covers album! And again, not to belittle Mr. Williams, because he's better than just about anyone when it comes to making music. He's the token “Oh man country music isn't all awful and this is fucking badass” guy. The one you find when you get out of “anything but country” high school and start taking in any music you can. I found this at Goodwill the summer before college and this is what really drove me into the alt-country territory that was a big part of my listening habits over the next couple of years. Importantly, I think this led me to Uncle Tupelo which led me to Wilco and the rest is history. And these songs are so sad! No wonder homeboy ended up dead in the back of a Cadillac from booze and pills. I wish this collection was all sad songs, but there are some goofy novelty jams thrown in. Like the one about indians, and “Jambalaya.” Mostly though, this is heartbreak music.

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