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Family Tradition (Original Classic Hits, Vol. 3)

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Album Review

Family Tradition followed The New South by a couple of years and delved deeper into Hank Williams Jr.'s spirit of adventure in reinventing his music to fit him as an individual. Far from giving a damn about what Nash Vegas thought of him at this point, Williams worked with three different producers on this set: Jimmy Bowen, Ray Ruff, and Phil Gernhard. While it's true that this set doesn't have the grit that Hank Williams, Jr. & Friends or The New South had, it does showcase Williams as a singer of real distinction and his love of soul and R&B music. An example of how willing he was to experiment was on the opening track, where he covers the Bee Gees' "To Love Somebody" with a chorus of backing vocalists. And he pulls it off in spades. It's moving, it swings, and it has that gospel feel that the hint of this song always contained but which had never been brought out before. He follows the R&B tip on "Old Flame, New Fire," an Oskar Soloman song that fuses country and Memphis-style R&B — again, with the female chorus raining down all around him. On Steve Young's dark and tenuous love song "Always Loving You," Charlie Daniels fiddles his way through the background in his inimitable style and Reggie Young's electric guitar can be heard trading fills with Brad Felton's steel. A notable cover on the set is a funky-butt read of Bobby Fuller's "I Fought the Law." There's a country feel in the phrasing, but that was there in the original tune; Williams brings a popping bass and honky tonk piano to the proceedings. It's not the best version of the tune, but it is an interesting one. The latter half of the set is chock-full of Hank Jr. compositions, with the notable exception of Ivy J. Bryant's "Only Daddy That'll Walk the Line," a song closely associated with Waylon Jennings. But Williams' version rocks harder than any other on record. Williams' own personal outlaw anthem is present as well, the infamous and wonderful "Family Tradition," with Daniels laying out a laid-back but gorgeous fiddle solo in the bridge. There's also the redneck manifesto "I've Got Right" and the killer "Paying on Time." In all, this is a slick, over-the-top-production album, but the quality of the songs and the arrangements, along with Williams' dynamite singing voice, make this set a necessity.

Customer Reviews

Family tradition

Ive been a big fan of Hank for years and this is one of his all time best albums! Your libray is not complet without it. One great song after another.

One of his best

Always Loving You is one of his great vocal performances. Check it out. The guy was a tremendous singer. People may have forgotten over the years the man had immense talent. Richly deserved success.


Born: May 26, 1949 in Shreveport, LA

Genre: Country

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

The offspring of famous musicians often have a hard time creating a career for themselves, yet Hank Williams, Jr. is one of the few to develop a career that is not only successful, but markedly different from his legendary father. Originally, Hank Jr. simply copied and played his father's music, but as he grew older, he began to carve out his own niche and it was one that owed as much to country-rock as it did to honky tonk. In the late '70s, he retooled his image to appeal both to outlaw country...
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