This was $2.00. Of course, I am going to jump on this. It is the kind of country that I adore. Also, as this is one of the Hanks, I have been meaning to post one of Thompson’s records for some time. I have posted multiple Snow’s and a few Williams in the past.
Hank Thompson was born in Waco, Texas in 1925. He had a honky tonk vocal style similar to Ernest Tubb. His backing band, the Brazos Valley Band, had a western swing style similar to Bob Wills, minus the solos. When the two came together, it made a sound all its own; a combination of western swing and honky tonk. Thompson burst on the scene with “Whoa Sailor” and had his first big hit in 1952 with “Wild Side Of Life”.
From there he continued to be a popular act, recording and performing throughout his career. Popularity would fade in later decades, but Thompson would remain a popular concert draw. His last public performance was in 2007. In the same year, Thompson would die from lung cancer at age 82.
This was a live recording released in 1961 from the Golden Nugget in Las Vegas. If Allmusic.com is right, this is one of the first live country albums. It is also among Thompson’s best.
It is a great album, indeed. The Brazos Valley Boys are on fire with such tracks as “Orange Blossom Special” and “Steel Guitar Rag”. The guitar is further bolstered by Merle Travis, who sits in with the band for this album. There are also a lot of good vocal songs such as “Honky Tonk Girl”, “She’s Just A Whole Lot Like You”, “John Henry” and “Have I Told You Lately That I Love You”. Pretty good overall record.
For a sample, I decided to go with three songs. I noticed I have been posting multiple songs pretty much all this week. Is it laziness on my part? Maybe. Or maybe the songs are all just that good. Well, which ever one you choose to believe, we are starting this album with Thompson singing one of Merle Travis’s hit tunes, “Nine Pound Hammer”. We are also going with one made famous by Hank Williams, “Lost Highway” (note that this song may reappear this month). Finally, I am submitting the closing number which is one of Thompson’s more popular numbers, “Six Pack To Go” complete with an outro.