Today, we look back at the very first album of my life (okay, not counting the Chipmunks). This is the one that may well have started this passion for music. I cannot recall the exact year in which I got this album (a birthday gift, I think it was), but it was around 1973 to 1975. Having heard several of my father’s Hank Williams 78’s, I became fascinated with his music. That’s how I wound up with this collection. The Legend of Hank Williams In Song and Story entered the market in 1973. It features Hank’s music, and Hank Williams Junior telling his story. The album climbed to seventeen on the country bestseller list. Most of the tracks on the album were hits for Hank Sr. Hank Jr. contributes one solo track on the disc. “Hank” would be a top fifteen hit.
The two-record set includes “I Saw the Light”, “Cold Cold” Heart”, and “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” on the first side. Side two includes “Long Gone Lonesome Blues”, “I’ll Never Get Out of This World Alive”, “Kaw-Liga”, and “Move It on Over”. Side three mixes Hank Jr.’s narration with “Lovesick Blues”, “Your Cheatin’ Heart”, and Hank Jr.’s narration of a poem that his dad wrote for him, “Little Bocephus”. The fourth side wraps with “I Can’t Help It (If I’m Still in Love with You)”, “May You Never Be Alone” (with Hank Jr.’s vocals overdubbed with his fathers), and “Hank”.
I must say that it’s a rather interesting album concept. Hank Jr. does a good job as a narrator. The script hits the important points of Hank Sr.’s life and career. The writing is good, telling the story, without diving into the vat of sap, though it comes close at times. Of course, the music is classic. Some of Hank Sr.’s best songs appear, but the most interesting cut on the album, is actually “May You Never Be Alone”. This version first appeared on the 1965 release, Father and Son. That album featured Hank Jr. overdubbed with several of Hank Sr.’s recordings. Today, the result sounds not so great, but remember, this was 1965 technology. And as a kid, I thought it was fascinating.
The album wraps with “Hank”, a song that peaked at number twelve for Hank Jr. in 1973. Pretty much the standard Nashville Sound fare that he was having to record for MGM at that time. But even so, some good vocal work on a decent song.
Overall, it’s not a bad album. Of course, Hank’s music is timeless, and Hank Jr.’s narrations are good. And the scripts offer some interesting bits of information, as well. I rate this one a 4 out of 5.
About Thy Author
Mike the Country Musicologist is a lifelong music and radio fanatic, lover of vintage agriculture, and big sports fan, including the Colts, Reds, Hurricanes, Pacers, Purdue & Butler Universities. He has collected records since childhood, focusing on classic country and top 40 oldies music. He actually convinced Vincennes University to give him an Associate’s Degree in broadcasting. He’s worked for several stations in Indiana and North Carolina, including his current gig. He hosts the weekly World Famous Ultimate Twang Radio Show. You can listen Thursdays, 4-7p ET on WSFM-LPFM/AshevilleFM, at 103.3 FM in Asheville, North Carolina, and online at ashevillefm.org. Be sure to follow him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.