Thursday, 29 January 2009

Twenty-First Century Hank

Hank Williams died seven months before Elvis set foot inside Sam Phillip's Sun Studio. Which of them was the most rock'n'roll? No contest.

Listening to The Raveonettes' cover of I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry last weekend set me scouring the shelves for more. These are five Hank Williams covers I found in my collection - all recorded this decade. You can hear and download the originals at the bottom of the post.

MP3: The Raveonettes - I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry

I always imagine the Danish duo playing at The Roadhouse in Twin Peaks if Julee Cruise ever wanted a night off. Their modern take on 50s music and snappy dress sense chime perfectly with David Lynch's world. Lynch must be a Hank fan - he made a movie called Lost Highway.
More Raveonettes: MySpace | Amazon | 7digital

MP3: Beck - (I Heard That) Lonesome Whistle

"Hank had a voice that cut through wood" Beck wrote in an appraisal of his hero for Rolling Stone's Immortals issue. This is from a 2000 session for KCRW's Morning Becomes Eclectic.
More Beck: MySpace | Amazon | 7digital

MP3: Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan - Ramblin' Man

The most inspired and unlikely duo in recent memory combine to create what's probably the sexiest Hank Williams cover ever recorded; a point not lost on whoever directed this video.
More Campbell & Lanegan: MySpace | Amazon | 7digital

MP3: Clem Snide - Lost on the River

This track sits so perfectly alongside the others on Clem Snide's first album, You Were A Diamond, that I doubt I realised it was a cover on first listen. Banjo aficionados take note - it features some very tasty picking.
More Clem Snide: MySpace | Amazon 7digital

MP3: Neko Case - Alone and Forsaken

The only song written by an American on Case's Canadian Amp EP. It's a pretty straightforward rendition but Neko Case's remarkable voice makes it something really special.
More Neko Case: official site | Amazon | 7digital

And the orginals...

MP3: Hank Williams - I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry

MP3: Hank Williams - (I Heard That) Lonesome Whistle

MP3: Hank Williams - Ramblin' Man

MP3: Hank Williams - Lost on the River (with Audrey Williams)

MP3: Hank Williams - Alone and Forsaken


Nora said...

Excellent - the Beck cover wins it for me.

Can I nominate the worst cover? Well not technically a cover.

Back in the 80s a former music promoter of Hank found a little-known and unreleased recording of 'There's a Tear in My Beer'. Hank's coatail-ing country-muzak star son Hank William's Jnr immediately capitalized on the find - recording his own vocals along with his infinitely more talented father. Here's the accompanying Frankenstein video..(some Hank fans may want to turn away now)

Nigel Smith said...

I think a lot of people might argue with your take on Hank Jr.

This is the video link:

Hank Jr - There's a Tear in My Beer

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