HANDSOME HANK - Greatest Hits

Handsome Hank - Greatest Hits

10 songs
37:34 minutes
***** ***


My first impression about this CD was that it was a tribute album where pop and rock classics would be covered as country songs. But reading Handsome Hank's entertaining biography on his homepage, I learned that he originally played these songs half a century ago and that nowadays popular pop acts covered him. The first song She's The One (got covered by ?) is a quiet and the album's worst song. Paradise City, which I only knew from Guns'n Roses, contains lots of violins and invites you to an authentic square dance. Handsome Hank's version of Manic Depression is much more relaxing and sadder than Jimi Hendrix' hippie shit. Daddy Cool was often covered, and especially Boney M had a great disco hit, but this banjo version is much greater than any other one. Close your eyes while listening and you feel like sitting in a saloon. I'm A Believer originally was a pure roots country song and had nothing to do with the rock version by the Byrds. The two absolute highlights are Video Killed The Radio Star (Handsome Hank's traditional version is much better than the disco music by The Buggles) and Black Hole Sun (forget Soundgarden) where Hank is sounding like an old record from the 1930s (absolute lo-fi recording). On both songs, he's also yodelling so that you might think he could be from Switzerland. The second last song is called Do Ya Think I'm Sexy? and it underlines that Rod Stewart couldn't reach with his version the high quality level of country music. Finally there's Mongoloid, and here the original is as great as the cover track by Devo. To like this album, you have to be either a country or a humour fan. If you are both, you will adore this record. It's just a pity that it ends already after only 10 songs.

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