The Blues according to Hank Williams
Hank Williams according to the blues
The very fact that this collection exists, or that there were enough tracks to populate it, tells you an awful lot about Hank Williams. He wasn’t the first or the only one, but no 20th century country artist crossed musical genres more effortlessly or more often than Hank Williams.
The records on this collection weren’t hits, but they reveal more acceptance of Hank Williams by Black artists than was generally known. They go beyond establishing the fact that Black artists could record hillbilly material as a genre – that was Ray Charles’s contribution. Here we see that Hank Williams in particular was a source of inspiration for Black artists as well.
When you listen to the songs on this collection, remember that they were written by a barely educated, unsophisticated, poor white boy from Alabama. And yet artists ranging from Fats Domino to Tommy Edwards, from Louis Armstrong to Sonny Knight, from Katie Webster to the Delta Rhythm Boys – they all dug into these songs and treated them like their own home movies. They connected with the material. That’s saying something pretty exceptional about Hank Williams and the universality of his music. Maybe it needs to be said more often and more clearly.