It is hard to argue against that Hank Williams is a true legend of country music. His son Hank Williams Jr. is following the huge footsteps of his father and his doing professional music since 1964. While Hank Williams Jr. is typically also known for country music and Southern rock, his new album Rich White Honky Blues is majorly featuring the blues. Despite there is a six year hiatus since the last studio release, it is already the fifty-fourth studio album of the artist. I had a listen.
Hank Williams Jr. – About The Artist
Randall Hank Williams was born on 26th May 1949 in Shreveport, Louisiana, USA. He is also known as Rockin’ Randall or Bocephus, which was a nickname given by his father in accordance to a comedian. Hank Williams Sr. died in 1953, so that Hank Williams Jr. was majorly grown by his mother. He originally performed a lot of songs originally interpreted by his father, before he more and more emancipated. Especially in the 1980’s,. Hank Williams Jr. was very successful. None of the twelve albums he released in that decade placed worse than seventh in the US Country album charts, six of them even topped them (in a row…). The same decade featured eight Number 1 single, the last one being Born To Boogie in 1987. Even though the frequency of releases faded slightly the last two decades, still five of his six last albums were in the Top 10 of the US country album charts. His previous release was It’s About Time in 2016.
Hank Williams Jr. – Rich White Honky Blues – Track by Track
The twelve song album lasts 46 minutes.
1. .44 Special Blues
The opener is really a a brief appetizer to the whole album: .44 Special Blues is less than two minutes long, Unfortunately, i also feels that it is lacks a bit time – and spirit – to spread the magical groove of the blues. Let’s call it a slow start.
2. Georgia Women
At least regarding the duration of the song, there is nothing to criticize about Georgia Women – the track lasts over four minutes. Apart from Hank Williams Jr. on the microphone, the two slide electric guitars by Kenny Brown and Kenny Auerbach dominate the rocking touch of this blues track. Much better experience than the first song to me.
3. My Starter Won’t Start
Yeah my starter won’t start this morning, my motor won’t even turn
My starter won’t start this morning, my motor won’t even turn
I’ve been running with a fast class of women
Caused my little car to ruin
If you are a good songwriter, you can finally write your songs about anything. Or use any kind of metaphor. My Starter Won’t Start is a lovely example for that. Nice song, nice groove… And, as you see, it is at least about cars and ladies… So it is almost a country song 😉
4. Take Out Some Insurance
Tim Quinne on the harmonica and bassist Eric Deaton are the key musicians you profile this song nicely from the melodic side. As an actuary, I am not sure if I can support that kind of using insurance cover, though:
Take out some insurance on me baby
’Cause if you ever say goodbye
I’m gonna haul right off and die
5. Rich White Honky Blues
The title track of the album is driven by a strong, monotonous rhythm. The song is not overwhelmingly deep on the lyrics – I do love the reference to his father though. Nice one on the melodic side, but nothing special.
That man, Hank Williams, he knew what he was talkin’ about
She broke Thunderhead’s heart all to pieces
6. Short Haired Woman
I am not sure whether I don’t want no woman, if her hair ain’t no longer than mine is in line with today’s definitions of political correctness. At least, the story of Short Haired Woman comes with a certain sense of entertainment. New topics to blues music – Hank Williams Jr. is definitely not shy about that.
7. Fireman Ring the Bell
Like in the songs before, Hank Williams entertains with some unexpected pictures and lyrics. The song is a nice blues rocker, having a strong drive from the electric guitar side. Good one.
8. Rock Me Baby
Rock Me Baby is less rocking than the predecessor. Another song, which is likely rather on the Explicit Lyrics side of the music life. I still smile while listening.
9. I Like It When It’s Stormy
I Like It When It’s Stormy is a very melodic track and rather reminds of a country rock track than of the blues. A very nice different sound on Rich White Honky Blues, for sure.
10. Call Me Thunderhead
The tenth track is heaving a strong blues groove with a dark, rocking touch. This makes it to one of the heaviest and most powerful listens of the whole album. Good one.
11. TV Mama
Not sure these are still appropriate lyrics for quoting – but at least you get the best flavor of this song when I do so. Nice blues rock track:
Every time that women loves me
Man she sure makes me cream
I mean like a milkshake
12. Jesus Will You Come By Here
The album started with cars and ladies – and closes with Jesus… You simply cannot get the country soul out of Hank Williams Jr.. In fact, it is a cover of traditional gospel. Some sort of spirit-ful ending of the songs, which might not always been in everyone’s religious attitude. I liked the lyrics before – some listeners might rather go for the closer.
Hank Williams Jr. – Rich White Honky Blues – Spotify
Here is the album on Spotify:
Hank Williams Jr. – Rich White Honky Blues – My View
Rich White Honky Blues is special – but it is entertaining. There could be more variety on the melodic side here and there, but overall, I really had a really good time with the album. Of course, you might not name these tracks mainstream blues sound.
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