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Being the son of country legend Hank Williams must have been quite difficult for Jr, always being compared to his father and then having the shadow of his faults hanging over him. To begin with he tried to emulate his father's sound, covering many of his songs before finding his own sound. Hank Jr. has, since the 70's, blended his country roots into a much more southern rock sound and is now considered to be one of the elder statesmen of 'outlaw' country rock. His pedigree is pretty assured after being taught to play by the best, including Fats Domino, Johnny Cash, Earl Scuggs and Jerry Lee Lewis after the death of his dad.
Hank Jr. Became disillusioned with the country rock establishment and soon morphed into an outlaw southern rock superstar taking on his father's nickname for him 'Bocephus'. After hit singles like 'A Country Boy Can Survive; and 'All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Over Tonight', he hit the big time and released some quality albums throughout the 80's and 90's.
His most recent album 127 Rose Avenue was released last year and at the age of 61, he doesn't seem to be slowing down any time soon.
Being quite a fan of country music I was itching to listen to the new Bocephus album after enjoying his previous effort 'I'm One of You'.
His sound is mash-up of heavy southern rock guitar stylings, wailing rowdy lyrics and a fiddle in the band. The songs are pretty much in the same style of fellow southern rocker Lynyrd Skynyrd these days, but here Hank Jr. is certainly a little more focussed on telling a story in his songs that they are.
The album kicks off with a pretty amusing track 'The Farm Song' is a fast hoe-down that will probably be the decider on whether this album is going to last in your car's CD player. I loved it and was laughing all the way home the other day with this one blasting out of my open windows. God knows what the English public thought of it!
I certainly empathise with Hank's association with the common man in America and songs like 'Red, White and Pink Slip Blues' certainly do their best to reflect the concerns of the recent economic downturn. For Hank Jr. And all his millions of dollars it probably won't affect him, but he should be applauded somewhat for raising the issue.
There's also some great ballads on the album. 'Mighty Oak Trees' which talks about great friendship and 'Gulf Shore Road (the album's closer) which tells about Hank's love of the southern lands.
My favourite tracks on the album are 'Sounds Like Justice' which basically talks about Hank's agreement with killing paedophiles in prison and shopkeepers killing robbers with shotguns. 'Last Drifting Cowboy' is an homage to Hank Williams Snr. is also excellent. I love the steel guitar backing on this song that sound exactly like the old Hank himself.
The most country sounding song on the album is also a toe-tapping classic and features the bluegrass six-piece 'The Grascals'. 'All the Roads' is a great acoustic number that includes fiddles and the whole shebang.
While not really breaking any new boundaries, 127 Rose Avenue is a return to form for Bocephus. The sound quality is excellent and the range of different styles keeps the album chugging along at a good pace. Some of the opinions about gun-law and Republicanism (Hank Jr. Once sang for Sarah Palin) might rub people up the wrong way, but if you like the sound of the album, then you will certainly enjoy it.
1. "Farm Song"
2. "Red, White & Pink Slip Blues"
3. "High Maintenance Woman"
4. "Mighty Oak Trees"
5. "Forged By Fire"
6. "Last Driftin' Cowboy"
7. "127 Rose Avenue"
8. "All the Roads"
9. "Sounds Like Justice"
10. "Long Gone Lonesome Blues"
11. "Gulf Shore Road"
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Farm Song
2 Red, White & Pink-Slip Blues
3 High Maintenance Woman
4 Mighty Oak Trees
5 Forged by Fire
6 Last Driftin' Cowboy
7 127 Rose Avenue
8 All the Roads
9 Sounds Like Justice
10 Long Gone Lonesome Blues
11 Gulf Shore Road