My Kind of Country

Country music from a fan's point of view since 2008

Album Review: Hank Williams and Hank Williams Jr – ‘Father And Son’

father and sonFather & Son was Hank’s fourth album and third non-soundtrack album. Like his first album Songs of Hank Williams and his second album, the soundtrack to Your Cheatin’ Heart, this 1965 album had Hank revisiting the songs of his father. This time there was a twist, however, in that MGM chose to graft Hank Junior’s vocals onto existing tracks recorded by Hank Senior, creating a very gimmicky album.

First a comment about the songs: I have nothing derogatory to say about any of the songs – how could I since these songs are an essential part of the canon of country music? Each and every one of these songs is a treasure, Better yet, this collection goes beyond the usual greatest hits collections to explore the depth of Hank Senior’s repertoire. The titles are listed as follows:

‘I Won’t Be Home No More’
‘Lovesick Blues’
‘May You Never Be Alone’
‘Move It On Over’
‘Lost Highway’
‘Crazy Heart’
‘Wedding Bells’
‘Honky Tonk Blues’
‘(I Heard That) Lonesome Whistle’
‘Why Don’t You Love Me’
‘Mind Your Own Business’
‘I Just Don’t Like This Kind Of Livin”

These songs run the gamut of human emotions from joy to despair and everything in between.

I have no doubt that this album, undertaken today would sound much better, if only because of the improvements in sound technology. Unfortunately, MGM did not have the ability to filter out hiss and background noise from the mono tracks of Hank Senior’s vocals. Consequently, on each track Hank Senior’s tracks have considerable noise. When Hank Junior sings alone, his vocals are clear and clean.

The usual format for the songs is for Hank Senior to sing a verse, then Hank Junior sings a verse and then sometimes Hank Junior gets grafted onto the chorus to create a duet with his father, so you get modern instruments plus the hiss from his father’s tracks

To make things worse there is a diversity of instrumentation – Hank Senior’s backing is left mostly alone when he sings alone, but whenever Hank Junior sings a modern country accompaniment shows up.

In comparing this album with earlier albums, it is obvious that Hank Junior’s voice is rapidly maturing and that he is becoming a more assured vocalist

Although this is a disjointed sounding album, it is a well sung album and far more than a curiosity. Because of the technology limitations of the time, I can only give this a solid B but if the label would take the time to redo this album, cleaning up the Hank Senior tracks with today’s digital technology and perhaps overdub a more uniform instrumentation, this could be a A+ album.


6 responses to “Album Review: Hank Williams and Hank Williams Jr – ‘Father And Son’

  1. Razor X January 13, 2016 at 9:46 am

    I agree that the sound quality is a big problem … whenever a song shifts from Hank Sr to Hank Jr or vice versa, it’s very jarring.

  2. Ken January 13, 2016 at 9:57 am

    Bought this album shortly after seeing the “Your Cheatin’ Heart” movie in the late 1960’s. No question that by today’s digital standards the technical imperfections are many and quite obvious. However at the time I first listened to it my young ears were amazed just to hear those two voices on a recording together. The uptempo songs seemed to work best for duets. My favorite was the lead track “I Won’t Be Home No More.” It was not as well known to me as some of the other Hank Williams standards so I did not mentally compare it to the original each time I heard it. Matter of fact that entire project may have worked better had they only selected songs that were not among Hank’s biggest hits so listeners didn’t immediately think of Hank’s original recordings.

    That album sold rather well so MGM had Hank Jr. return to the studio for more overdubs of his father’s songs in early 1966. Later that year a second album was released “Hank Williams/Hank Williams. Jr Again.” As with the first LP there were several unreleased duets that did not make the final track list. Those would be ideal bonus tracks for a CD release of both albums. If the original multi-track recordings still exist a new remix might be possible to minimize the technical shortcomings of the original releases.

    I was rather amused in 1989 when “There’s A Tear In My Beer” was released and many people thought it was the first time that the voices of Hank Sr. & Hank Jr. were recorded together. By that time their first duet album was already 24 years old.

    • Jonathan Pappalardo January 13, 2016 at 3:33 pm

      So why was “There’s A Tear In My Beer” such a big deal? Country music politics at their finest? Or was this the first time a Hank Sr / Hank Jr duet was given such mainstream exposure?

      • Ken January 13, 2016 at 4:07 pm

        It was because the song was from a previously unheard Hank Williams Sr. demo of that song found on an acetate in an attic over 30 years after Hank died. It belonged to Big Bill Lister who had recorded the song for Capitol. Hank Sr. had never intended to release that song as some online sources say. It was a very basic demo recording and it was not in the best condition. Technicians painstakingly took many hours to clean it up for use in the duet with Hank Jr..

        The song was a big deal primarily because a state-of-art video was created that allowed Hank Jr. to literally share the stage with his dad. Lips were superimposed on the Hank Sr. film to correctly mouth the words of the song. Pretty high tech for that era. It won Video Of The Year honors from both the CMA & ACM, the CMA Vocal Event Of The Year and a Grammy nomination. By the way the original kinescope featured Hank and his band doing “Hey Good Lookin” for a 1951 Kate Smith Show.

  3. Pingback: Album Review: Hank Williams and Hank Williams Jr – ‘Father And Son Again’ | My Kind of Country

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