Hank lived and died before the advent of the album, and numerous collections have overcompensated by lassoing the entirety of his scattershot output. This Mercury three-disc set omits a few of the big hits (most notably his last, “I’ll Never Get Out of This World Alive”) but each of Hank’s major themes—honky tonk, heartbreak and gospel—gets its own 20-song disc that blends standards with obscurities. What links all the material is the simplicity of Williams’ approach. There are few extraneous nouns, barely any adjectives—and no drums at all. Just a man confident that his voice and his guitar can convey everything in his sad, sad, heart.
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