Black Music Matters Festival

Hank Williams Jr.

A.K.A. Wham Bam Sam – 1996 (MCG/Curb)

Reviewed by Dallas Clemmons

CDs by Hank Williams Jr.

Hank Williams, Jr. doesn't often get the credit he deserves. His commercial successes are staggering, but critical acclaim has been scarce. That's too bad. Williams has been a major innovator in country music; he is a fine, often introspective songwriter; he is an expert singer of both country blues and rousing honky-tonk. These last two talents are on display in his latest release. The title song is a nifty slow, jazzy blues. "Honky Tonked All To Hell" should jump out of many a roadhouse jukebox. And other pleasant moments are here: "Houston, We Have A Problem" is a moving ballad, and "She Don't Do Nothin' For Me" is the kind of straight-ahead country one rarely hears anymore. But it's hard, finally, to recommend this album. Too many songs are modest and forgettable and a couple, like the cartoonish "Been There, Done That," are silly. If you have other Hank Jr. albums, this one won't add much to your collection, and if you don't have any, you could do a lot better.