Thursday, May 26, 2011

Plus One: Happy Birthday, Bocephus!

Bad. Ass. Man.
Repost from October, 2010....It's been a great Trip Through Time and Country Music over the last four weeks, but like all things, this too must end. We began our tribute with a bang with Garth Brooks, and now we're gonna end it with a BOOM! 

My favorite artist from any genre of music, bar none, is Hank Williams, Jr. I am very familiar with Hank's trials and tribulations over the years. He has told me about many of them in person, during the three times I had a chance to talk with him. As we drank shots of whiskey and nursed a few beers, Hank related to me one great story after another. Most of them were just general stories about the music biz, his role in it, his Dad (of course) and some other stuff. The one subject that Hank told me about was when on Augusta 8, 1975, he fell almost 500 feet down the side of Ajax Mountain in Montana. He went over the accident that nearly killed him in chilling detail. He probably would have fallen further down the side of the mountain except for one thing - a BFR. A Big Fuckin' Rock. He smashed into it face first into it and it opened his skull like it was on a door hinge, his brain exposed to the elements. Hank was hiking with his buddy, Dick Willey and Willey's son, Pete (I think, his name escapes me) when the accident happened. The senior Willey had to hike several miles back down Ajax to get help, while his son, who was about 10 years old, IIRC, tried to keep Hank awake and alert. The boy prove to be a hero. Hank told that if it hadn't been for the cold weather, he probably would have died right then and there. Two years of reconstructive surgery and rehab, including learning how to talk all over again, followed the fall down Ajax. Amazing story.

Already recorded prior to Hank's accident, was an album called Hank Williams, Jr and Friends. The link provides only clips of the songs, but I urge you to take a minute to listen to them. this album, in my opinion, is the single greatest album ever recorded. It was the single most influential album that initiated the Outlaw Movement in Country Music. I know, I know, Willie and Waylon and all that. I agree that W & W were the ones that popularized Outlaw Country, but Hank, Jr and Friends was before all that. Hank and Friends consists of nine songs that are my life set to music. It's the ultimate Country record. It's that great.

We know what many of Hank's hits are. Below I will list some of his better-known songs and some that aren't. But I promise you, they will all be good, and maybe you'll look at Hank from a different point of view.
What a great way to end our tribute to Country Music Month. Hank Williams, Jr, who once had NINE albums in The Top 75 at one time (!), has a ton of YouTube pages with his music on them. Make time to listen to some of Hank's songs that were never released as singles. There's a treasure trove of kick ass Country tunes and songs that paint a vivid image in your mind that I think you'll really like.

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All Original Material © Toby Shoemaker