Hank III- Long Gone Daddy
by Rev. Walter Beck
Curb Records decided to scrape a few gems from Hank III and release this album a few months after Hank’s marathon releases of Ghost to a Ghost/Gutter Town, 3 Bar Ranch: Cattle Callin’ and Attention Deficit Domination. This is a collection of cover songs, a couple of b-sides and a remix tacked on the end.
The cover songs are the biggest attraction here with Hank III tackling such country classics as “I’m a Long Gone Daddy”, “The Bottle Let Me Down”, “The Wreck of the Old ‘97”, “’Neath a Cold Gray Tomb of Stone” and “Good Hearted Woman”.
These covers are all done with a certain restraint, still keeping to their original country sound, proving that Hank can still play traditional country music if he’s in the mood. Of the cover songs, the strongest are “I’m a Long Gone Daddy”, originally by Hank Williams Sr. and “Good Hearted Woman”, made popular by Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson and George Jones. These two stand above the rest on this album as the best covers. Although I should give an “honorable mention” to his cover of “The Wreck of the Old ‘97” as he strips the high-speed sound of the original and ads a haunting folk feel to it.
Hank has a couple of originals on here, “Sun Comes Up” and “What They Want Me to Be” (an early version of “Trashville” from his album Lovesick, Broke and Driftin’). “Sun Comes Up” sounds like a B-side from his debut Risin’ Outlaw, still showing Hank trying to balance between the traditional sounds his record label wanted and his raw-edged sound he was developing. It’s not a bad cut, a slow-tempo, steel guitar soaked drinking number that you can sway your whiskey bottle to. “What They Want Me to Be” will only be of interest to hardcore Hank III fans, it’s an earlier version of “Trashville” and the difference in sound isn’t that much, it sounds a bit more raw, closer to what the song should have been on the record, but that’s about it.
Speaking of reworks from previous albums, this LP ends with a remix of “If the Shoe Fits” (from the album Risin’ Outlaw). This is definitely the throwaway track, this sounds like something a studio executive threw together to get some radio play and it obviously failed, the mixing of hip-hop styled beats over Hank III’s country sound is the worst crossover attempt I’ve heard since Kid Rock’s career.
This album is a mixed bag; it has some pretty good covers and a couple of curiosities for the diehard fans. And that’s who this album is aimed at, the diehards, the completists, this album won’t get any new fans, but it will give long-time fans a nice little record to put on their shelves.