Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Hank Williams III - Hillbilly Joker

Hillbilly nirvana

Where Buddy Miller takes Country traditions and honours them with modern interpretations of reverence and craft, Hank Williams III takes Country and covers it in shit, pisses on the pile and then sets it alight with gallons of gasoline and the burning stub of a reefer.

Hank's songs are at their quietest when aping Nirvana with tinges of Hawkwind, but they soon ignite into thrash metal or whatever manic nomenclature of metal you want to brand it. No surprises that this album - apparently recorded back in 2000 and the subject of a disputed current release by the record company he left - merges the wilder strains of his country band with the madness of his metal persona Assjack. It is an incendiary musical manifesto and articulated in the opener Hillbilly Joker, one of the few tracks where you can actually discern language:

'If you don't like our hillbilly sound
Well hey man, go fuck yourself'

The titles of other tracks provide a supporting linguistic simplicity - I'm Drunk Again; Life of Sin; Pistol Packin; Drink It, Drug It, and Hellbilly.

Indeed, the album's final track Hellbilly best sums up Hank's country ethos with its insane farmyard sound effects, screeching guitars and interplay of repeated rhyming couplets, for example

'I drive my truck
And I don't give a fuck
Drink my beer
Raise my steer.......'

It's raucous and mindless and mocking and I like it - and according to Hank who doesn't take shit and doesn't take kindly to Curb Records releasing his shit 'Don't buy it but get it some other way and burn the hell out of it and give it to everyone'.

Hank said it [allegedly], not me.

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