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RCA Country Legends: Hank Snow

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Album Review

Hank Snow hailed from Canada and had already had success in his native home before breaking big on the country charts in the United States in 1950 with "I'm Moving On." RCA Country Legends covers 16 Snow favorites recorded between 1950 and 1978, concentrating most heavily on his straight honky tonk work of the 1950s. His arrangements frequently include steel guitar, a walking bass, fiddle, and Snow's fine acoustic guitar work. Snow is a good singer, and while his vocals are less rustic than Webb Pierce's, they nonetheless retain plenty of country twang on "Golden Rocket" and "Confused with the Blues." Snow also brings his resonant vocals to bear on a number of fine, deeply felt ballads including "(Now and Then There's) A Fool Such as I," "I Don't Hurt Anymore," and "Let Me Go, Lover." If RCA Country Legends has a weak point, it is the inclusion of Snow's popular but inferior post-'50s work, frequently with Chet Atkins producing. While Snow retains his distinct vocal style, and while songs like "Miller's Cave" were big hits, Atkins' Nashville sheen, complete with cheesy background singers, removes any sign of country grit. For fans looking for a broad overview of Snow's career, RCA Country Legends is a good starting point; for honky tonk purists, the collection mistakenly reveals Snow at his best, only to undercut this impression with second-rate work. ~ Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr., Rovi


Born: 09 May 1914 in Brooklyn, Nova Scotia, Canada

Genre: Country

Years Active: '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s

Canada's greatest contribution to country music, Hank Snow was famous for his "traveling" songs. It's no wonder. At age 12 he ran away from his Nova Scotia home and joined the Merchant Marines, working as a cabin boy and laborer for four years. Once back on shore, he listened to Jimmie Rodgers records and started playing in public, building up a following in Halifax. His original nickname, the Yodelling Ranger, was modified to the Singing Ranger when his high voice changed to the great baritone that...
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