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
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!