Hank Williams Jr.
This is the 50th album Williams has recorded. His first, Hank Williams Jr. Sings the Songs of Hank Williams, appeared in 1964. Back then Bocephus, as Hank Jr. is known—after a Grand Ole Opry ventriloquist’s dummy his dad liked—was only 15. (His second album was a duet project with Connie Francis.) But Williams is more than just durable. He has developed a distinctively casual, gritty style and an eclectic approach that encourages him to include on this album such disparate tunes as Fats Waller’s Ain’t Misbehavin’, Warren Zevon’s Lawyers, Guns and Money and his own Something To Believe In. The old Gary “U.S.” Bonds hit New Orleans is in the set, too. Hank Jr.’s This Ain’t Dallas plays nicely off the prime-time soap opera: “I ain’t J.R./You ain’t Sue Ellen/We’re just a man and a woman/Holding things together.” If Williams is rarely profound, he’s always fun. We don’t have to worry about his voice deteriorating from underuse either. (Warner Bros.)