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Best Of

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Album Review

Since Wayne Hancock is still alive and well, making records, and touring America's finer honky tonks as of the spring of 2005, it seems more than a bit premature to call a collection of his work "Best Of." However, in 2001 Hancock departed Ark 21 Records for the more twang-friendly surroundings of the Bloodshot label, and this compilation devotes itself strictly to Wayne the Train's first three albums, released between 1995 and 1999 through Ark 21. Best Of isn't a particularly imaginative collection — the track listing is divided roughly evenly between Thunderstorms and Neon Signs, That's What Daddy Wants, and Wild, Free & Reckless, with no unreleased material or rare stuff included, minimal liner notes and credits, and a frankly unattractive package design. So if you're a loyal fan, you can pass this up with no guilt; on the other hand, if you're looking for a good introduction to Hancock's old-school swingin' honky tonk style, this features 14 great songs that cover the range of his music and his rough-hewn lyrical style just fine. Then again, given how consistent his work is, any of his albums will offer a fairly similar experience, but this still isn't a bad starter for honky tonk neophytes who want to hear one of the contemporary masters of the form. Then again, it's hard not to think Hancock deserves a better retrospective than this.


Born: 01 May 1965 in Rockne, TX

Genre: Country

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Alternative country favorite Wayne Hancock is that rare breed of traditionalist: one who imbues his retro obsessions with such high energy and passion that his songs never feel like museum pieces he's trying desperately to preserve. Hancock is most often compared to Hank Williams, and he can indeed be a hardcore honky tonker, but there's more to him than that: he also displays a genuine affinity for stomping rockabilly, Western swing, blues, and old-timey country à la Jimmie Rodgers. Plus, he also...
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Best Of, Wayne Hancock
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