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Hank Williams Lost Highway And Other Live Favourites Review

Album. Released 2005.  

BBC Review

Hank took the old church songs and threw them on the back of his horse...

Cormac Heron 2005

Think of a CD of Hank Williams live and you might imagine a bunch of songs that sound as though they come from the inside of a vacuum cleaner. And yeah you might be right, but thankfully there are other performances captured from the 'lovesick bluesboy' that stand alone as more than worthy releases and Lost Highway And Other Live Favourites sports many of these such recordings.

Lost Highway... is a compilation culled mainly from the 10 CD Box Set, The Complete Hank Williams and it charts the growth of what the man and his sensational band had to offer as a live act. The performances amaze and though at times the recordings are indeed a bit dusty, they add to the charm of something authentic taken from that era.

From the opening "Move It On Over" to the ever-covered "Cold, Cold Heart", Williams sets a standard showing how, in between drinking wagonloads of liquor and taking morphine for his chronic back pain, he was more than able to deliver the goods when it came to performing.

For Hank Williams was not just a country and western singer; he was the original country and western singer. He took the old church songs and threw them on the back of his horse, rode them through the plains for days on end and spat with them around the campfire until they were full-fledged, dusted-up and never-to-be-tamed songs in their own right. You can almost see the tumbleweeds blow in amongst the pews on "Driftin' Too Far From The Shore" whilst the beans bubble in the pot.

Dylan has quoted him as being his first idol and also said many times that Hank Williams was America's greatest songwriter. Lost Highway... certainly offers a glimpse of that greatness and it is a great thing that these performances are available for they really are worthy of museum space. What with Williams having drifted too far from the shore in the back of a car on that fateful New Year's Eve years ago, we can only praise Jesus and the recording technology of the time for Lost Highway And Other Live Favourites.

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