Hank Thompson – Hank Thompson & His Brazos Valley Boys [12CD Box Set] (1996)

Posted by Green on July 21, 2020as


This 12-CD set includes all of Thompson’s 1946-47 Globe and Bluebonnet recordings, as well as his complete 1947-1964 Capitol recorded output. Included are all three of his live LPs including the 1961 ‘Hank Thompson At The Golden Nugget’, the first live LP ever done by a solo country singer.

Hank Thompson began his career singing Ernest Tubb-style honky tonk, the sound heard on his first small-label regional hits. Signed to Capitol in 1947, national hits came quickly, and E.T. himself got Hank on the Opry in 1949. Realizing he wanted something different, Hank quit, headed home to Texas and organized a dynamic, Western Swing version of his Brazos Valley Boys band, led by Billy Gray. Not only did they put a danceable sound behind Hank’s honky tonk vocals (a formula George Strait repeated 30 years later), they reflected a highly successful convergence of the two related Texas genres. The results were landmark hits like The Wild Side Of Life, Rub-A-Dub-Dub, Wake Up, Irene, Honky Tonk Girl, Wildwood Flower and Squaws Along The Yukon. Along with Hank’s ebullient voice, came steel guitar virtuosity from Lefty Nason (the man who created the distinctive Thompson steel sound), Curly Chalker, Bobby Garrett and Bobbie White can be heard. So can brillant fiddling from Curly Lewis, Keith Coleman and Billy Armstrong, with guitar picking from Hank’s friend Merle Travis and, on occasion Joe Maphis.

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