Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Hank Snow - When Tragedy Struck

Christ almighty, the title of this little cherub is surely one of the most succinct examples of country music's well-tilled traditional stoicism for tragedy doesn't simply strike but bludgeon every inch of the already beaten to a blubbering n' bloody pulp with an emotional mini-gun, but that's just ploughing the field for battles anew. It is however, possessed of much macabre enchantment, as such things usually are, dark drama's cradled with sorrow that never descend into the mawkishness that maketh mirth outta cow'n'tree wonky tonkin' music, with the rawhide rough-hewn humility and pathos as though grimaced out by Josey Wales to a soft-step backing of honky-tonk hymnals. A Drunkard's Child is classic tear-rimmed balladry as is the father / son tale of Don't Make Me Go To Bed And I'll Be Good, The Convict And The Rose like an older sister of Merle Haggard's Sing Me Back Home. This album also has, hell it had to have it on, surely, Old Shep on it that Elvis had brought to torrential national tear-fest a few years earlier, and later on another farewell to four paws on Little Buddy. As a forbear of Gram Parsons and Townes Van Zandt this cheerful chapter shouldn't be discarded in a little plot on it's lonesome, being a worthy historical document from a time when babies grew up to be cowboys not crybabys. It even ends with a surprising twist, at the wake perhaps, on the sprightly jig of I'm Here To Get My Baby Out Of Jail.
Stu Gibson

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