CD Review - Hank Williams Jr. "Old School/New Rules"

I remember a young Johnny Cash, waiting in the wing/ Cause he'd hand me his cigarette, when he'd go out to sing/ And the good Ol Marshall Tucker Band, back in '83/ Was a special night they asked me, "Come on out and play Can't You see." 

That's the first few lines from the song "Old School" on Hank Williams Jr. new album Old School/New Rules.  In this track Hank sings about some fellow legends from Dolly to Jerry Lee Lewis.  He expresses how proud he is to be from the Old School and how privileged he is to of  had the helped he received. 

We all know the story of how Jr. fell off that mountain, So I will not go into all that.  This a album review and not a history lesson. If any of yall would like a history lesson, feel free to stay after class.

Twenty six years ago in 1987, Hank Williams Jr. released two albums.  Those albums was Hank Live and Born To Boogie. Both of those are Certified Platinum. One year before those two in 1986, Jr. released Montana Cafe which is Certified Gold.  For twenty six years it seemed as if Jr. just floated along putting out albums that really was not Bocephus quality.  He was seen with Kid Rock and Uncle Cracker and other young acts, making t.v. appearances and name dropping them in songs.  His relationship with Rock became so popular a lot of people even thought Rock was his son and folks was asking "who was this Hank WilliamsIII guy claiming to be Hank's son?"  It seemed Bocephus was gone and he also like many others had become a puppet.

At some point recently, Jr. finally said the hell with this crap.  Hank Jr. figured he wasn't young anymore and not going to kiss anyones ass.  Rock nor Cracker is on Williams new album. It's been reported that at one show he said Hey Cracker it's not Detroit it's Dixie son!  Stop messing up my damn song.

This time Bocephus sat down, layed down, shot cannons, got drunk or whatever the hell he does to write hits and did just that.  On Hank Jr.'s website I read he has been writing songs for the past 26 years and not doing anything with them.  Also his website says he wrote 10 of the 11 songs on Old School/New Rules. 

I can say there is only 1 song I do not care for on this new album.  9 are great and 1 is....okay. Yes, there are several songs that mention politics and the shape our country is in.  But the whole album is not a political rant.  Cow Turd Blues, Old School, 3 Day Trip and That Ain't Good are not politcially charged songs.  But so what if Jr. wants to rant and voice his opinions.  Maybe he is the voice for some of yall that are afraid to say what you think.   The music on this album is good, bottom line.  Hell this is the best Jr. album in 26 years! 

The album starts off with the track "Takin' Back The Country".  This is a great song to start off with and sets the mood for the album.  It is a reminder that Rockin, Rowdy, Randall Hank is still capable of making great music.  Not to mention Hank Sr. has a line or two in it as well.

Track 2 is "I'm Gonna Get Drunk and Play Hank Williams"(feat. Brad Paisley).  Hank performed this with Paisley at the country awards show and was no doubt the best performance of the night. This will take you back to "Family Tradition and "WhiskeyBent and Hellbound."  I'm not a fan of Paisley but he did a great job on this song. 

I'm not going to give a play by play of each track on this album, just enough to hopefully interest you. The number 4 track is called "Old School."  Refer to the beginning of this review.  "Old School" is defiantly a stand out song on this album.  I think it has a "All My Rowdy Friends Have Settled Down" feel to it.

In the 7 spot is "The Cow Turd Blues."  With it's funny name and upbeat tempo, Hanks message is brought to you in a fun and humerous manner. Don't knock it due to it's title, give it a listen. 

"That Ain't Good" comes in at track 9.  This one has a great groove to it.  It is about the everday working mans struggles but is delivered in Rockin Randall style. 

Track 10 is the very popular "Keep The Change."  Now I could go over the back story to this song.  Most likely you've heard all about it.  From Fox and Friends to ESPN, this one was truely inspired.  If my memory is correct, this is the fastest downloaded country song in history. 

Ending the album with track 12 is well, great!  "I Think I'll Just Stay Here and Drink" (feat. The Hag himself).  What can I say other than what a great way to end this album.  I Pledge Allegiance To The Hag.....

I'll leave you with some numbers:

5 Entertainer of the Year Awards
     4 Emmys
     10 #1 Singles
     13 #1 Albums
     20 Gold Albums
     6 Platinum Albums 

To anyone that questions my credentials, Hi my name is Hank. --Line from track  4 "Old School." 

If you are tired of the mainstream crap country and the fakes labeling themselves as "Outlaw", go out and buy a physical copy of this album. Let Music Row know what it is, you want to hear.  What's also awesome about this album, It's available on vinyl!



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Tags: Alabama, BOCEPHUS, Brad, Change, Don't, Hank, Jr., Keep, Kid, Me, More…Nashville, On, Paisley, Randall, Rock, The, Tread, Williams, country, hits, new, old, outlaw, rocking, rowdy, rules, school

Comment by Derek on August 2, 2012 at 7:53pm

COW TURD BLUES about sums up this album*.  Money lyric:  "Never kick a cow turd an a hot day or you might get some poo on your pants leg."  

Inspired songwriting indeed.  I guess you are what you sing about, right? 

*I like the Brad Paisley tune.  

Comment by gary bond on August 3, 2012 at 5:05am

I cannot believe this album continues to get good reviews! This is the "emperors new clothes" all over again! I am not gonna even pretend this is good,just because I will always have a soft spot for Jr.

Comment by Johnny Edlin on August 3, 2012 at 6:35am

so yall dont agree its the best he's done in many years? 

Comment by gary bond on August 3, 2012 at 6:48am

Go back and listen too "New South","Habits Old And New","Rowdy" or "The Pressure is On" and you will be able to answer your own question!

To do better than he's done in years is no barometer.Just about everything since "Montana Cafe" has been souless garbage.I have lived and died and cried and fought alongside the earlier material,but to be honest Hank has lost his drive and passion for the music! Which is fine,because we will always have all the great stuff from the past!

Comment by Jack Williams on August 3, 2012 at 7:41am

I'm with you on the classic Hank Jr. stuff, Gary.  Can't claim to be a long time Jr. fan.   I've been more into Hank Sr.and Hank3.  In the past several months, I've picked up a few of the classic albums you listed.  And let's not forget Whiskey Bent and Hellbound.  Great albums and he himself wrote a lot of great songs.   And what a fine singer he was.

Comment by Johnny Edlin on August 3, 2012 at 10:13am

I agree with Gary that Montana Cafe was his last great material.  His new album is better than everything after that.

Comment by Larry Sepulvado on August 3, 2012 at 10:15am

Long ago & far away I liked Hank Jr. Some people would argue this is "real" country music. Musically, it's tired and dated and the lyrics... well, maybe Hanky needs to invite his rowdy friend Ted Nugent over so they can yakety yak about their gun collections. This CD includes the worst version of "You Win Again" ever. The best version (outside of Sr.)... Tracy Nelson/Mother Earth.

Comment by Johnny Edlin on August 3, 2012 at 10:16am

Jack i am a huge fan of Hank Williams.  His radio shows are priceless.  Looking very forward to the dvd being released of two Williams live shows. 

Comment by Michael Helwig on August 4, 2012 at 9:24pm

Hank Jr is not now, and never was, "Old School"...he's an average talent that was saddled with one of the most incredibly enormous birthright burdens in the history of show business...he put out a lot of good (not great) stuff in the 70s-80s, a lot of crap and a lot of covers of songs that were so great that no one could mess them up...this album may be the best he's done in 25 years, but so what?...the bar was pretty low

Comment by Jack Williams on August 5, 2012 at 7:14am

""...he's an average talent that was saddled with one of the most incredibly enormous birthright burdens in the history of show business...he put out a lot of good (not great) stuff in the 70s-80s."

In your opinion, of course. 


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Created by No Depression Feb 17, 2009 at 9:06pm. Last updated by No Depression Sep 24, 2012.