Hank William’s, Jr has released his best album since 1987’s Born to Boogie. There is simply not a bad song on the album. Bocephus manages to combine his Outlaw Country and Southern Rock stylings with thought provoking lyrics that grab your attention, your heart and soul.
“Farm Song” opens the set, rocking with a roll call of names and images, backed by screaming lead guitar, fiddles and more. It’s not a song you can really compare to any other, and that’s a good thing. Bryan Sutton’s flat picking run is just smokin,’ and Robert Randolph rips it up in his own Sacred Steel style on pedal steel.
Next is the most appropriate song for our times I have heard lately, “Red, White and Pink Slip Blues,” the story of a mill worker who loses his job when the plant closes down, and now they are coming to repossess his truck.
"High Maintenance Woman" (not the Toby Keith song of the same title) is the story of a laid back kind of guy and his woman who goes through money like it was falling from the sky. It’s a crack up of a song. Something Hank can do like no other.
The outstanding swampy ballad "Mighty Oak Trees" finds Junior tipping his hat to those who have supported him throughout his life,
and “Forged By Fire” is an awesome song about two friends who served in the war together and have an unbreakable bond for life that only the two of them can truly understand. A great song, with some amazing slide guitar work
“Last Driftin’ Cowboy” is a great song enhanced by pedal steel that begins with a teaser sounding like an early-fifties country song before kicking into a rock and rolling tune that ends with some beautiful steel guitar playing a variation on “Cold Cold Heart.”
“127 Rose Avenue” takes us to the home of Hank, Sr’s home, which has been turned into museum. With a tearful lyric, Hank, Jr. recalls his childhood.
“All The Roads” finds Hank delivering one of his finest love songs in years, teaming up with The Grascals for a bluegrass flavored romp that, like the whole album, bears repeat listenings. And “Sounds Like Justice” is a powerful, highly controversial song about the issue of child abuse.
"Long Lonesome Blues" is a blues tribute to Hank’s daddy, with some really nice guitar and Dobro work. The album closes with “Gulf Shore Blues,” a simply beautiful ballad which shows a romantic side of Bocephus rarely seen in his music.
Outstanding songs, amazing music and crystal clear vocals help to make 127 Rose Avenue one of the finest albums this 60-year-old rocker has ever released. One of the best albums of 2009. I was a huge fan of Hank in the seventies. WIth this new album, he has won me back as a die hard fan.
-Michael Buffalo Smith