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What the Hell Was I Thinking

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Editors’ Notes

Hasil Adkins was a natural fit for the Mississippi-based label Fat Possum, which was founded in the '90s to record crotchety musicians from the South, each of whom just happened to have incredibly singular talents. What the West Virginia–born Adkins had in common with Fat Possum stalwarts like R.L. Burnside and T-Model Ford was that they all played a form of dance music. Not dance music in the modern mainstream sense, but dance music that grew out of rent parties thrown in backwoods towns where electricity wasn't guaranteed. The spiky rhythms of “Stay with Me,” “No Shoes," and “Gone Gone Gone” could be Motown songs for hillbillies. Hasil also takes a stab at a brilliantly muddy piece of slide guitar work called “Talkin’ to My Lord.” Still, the best performances are his ballads. At every session, Haze threw in a tenderhearted country song, but “Your Memories” and “Somehow You’ll Find Your Way” are particularly touching. They're upstaged only by the final showstopper, “Up on Mars”; it's a surreally atonal masterpiece that has Adkins speaking in tongues and dreaming of distant worlds.


Born: April 29, 1937 in Madison, WV

Genre: Rock

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

Hasil Adkins was a one of a kind rockabilly lunatic whose life and music were bizarre enough that if they had been a work of fiction, no one with any sense would have ever believed it. A frantic one-man band who bashed out ultra-crude rock & roll tunes about sex, chicken, and decapitation into a wheezing reel-to-reel tape machine in a West Virginia shack, Adkins spent most of his life making...
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