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Hank Thompson

Hank's World – 1999 (Bloodshot Revival/Soundies)

Reviewed by Stuart Munro

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CDs by Hank Thompson

"Hank World," a never-before-issued radio transcriptions from the early '50's, was made in Hank Thompson's home studio for the World Program Service, and it manifests his masterful abilities as a recording engineer. Thompson himself decided on which cuts to include here, and he chose a mixture of hits ("Rub-A-Dub-Dub," "Humpty Dumpty Heart," "Yesterday's Mail"), lesser-known material (including a smoking version of his hillbilly tune "California Women" and - an exception to Thompson's usual lovin', hurtin', cheatin' fare - his gospel song "When God Calls His Children Home") and previously unreleased gems. The unreleased stuff is standard Thompson material - "New Deal of Love," "I'm Tired of Pretending," "I'm A Fool To Fool Around With You" - none of it second-rate, along with instrumentals such as the brassy, big-band "Tippin' In" and a fine run-through of Bob Wills' "Texas Playboy Rag."

While the transcriptions have a bit less filled-out sound than his commercial recordings, they display that seamless mix of honky tonk and western swing that Thompson is famous for, his precise, expressive croon, and the characteristic touches - rapidly bowed twin fiddle passages, steam whistle steel - and superb musical support of the Brazos Valley Boys.