2004: The Gold Collection [1947–1952]
The Gold Collection
Rated as: Collection
Compilation Status: Recommended Collection
Specific Genre: Honky Tonk, Traditional Country
Main Genre: Country
Undertones: Gountry Gospel
Disc 1: 1. Move It on Over 2. A Mansion on the Hill 3. Lovesick Blues 4. Wedding Bells 5. Mind Your Own Business 6. You’re Gonna Change (Or I’m Gonna Leave) 7. Lost Highway 8. My Bucket’s Got a Hole in It 9. I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry 10. I Just Don’t Like This Kind of Living 11. Long Gone Lonesome Blues 12. My Son Calls Another Man Daddy 13. Why Don’t You Love Me 14. Why Should We Try Anymore 15. They’ll Never Take Her Love from Me 16. Moanin‘ the Blues 17. Nobody’s Lonesome for Me 18. Cold Cold Heart 19. Dear John 20. Howlin‘ at the Moon
Disc 2: 1. I Can’t Help It (If I’m Still in Love with You) 2. Hey, Good Lookin‘ 3. Crazy Heart 4. I Heard That Lonesome Whistle 5. Ramblin‘ Man 6. Baby We’re Really in Love 7. Half as Much 8. Honky Tonk Blues 9. I’m Sorry for You My Friend 10. Let the Spirit Descend 11. The Old Country Church 12. Jambalaya (on the Bayou) 13. Window Shopping 14. Settin‘ the Woods on Fire 15. I’ll Never Get Out of this World Alive 16. You Win Again 17. I Won’t Be Home No More 18. Kaw-Liga 19. Your Cheating Heart 20. Take These Chains from My Heart
I’ll never get out of this world alive
European cheapo compilation with absolutely hideous design but almost identical tracklist to the highly praised 40 Greatest Hits, so there you go. Some songs are swapped around and “Weary Blues From Waiting” and “I Saw the Light” are missing and get replaced with “Let the Spirit Descend” and “The Old Country Church”. I don’t see a reason for this. Still, this contains nearly all of his top ten A-sides as well as B-sides (maybe missing two or three altogether), and even includes his two posthumous number one singles. The track list is roughly chronological and gives you a good overview of his five year-span of recording hits and building country as a genre taking and giving as much hits to rock’n’roll as blues had. I mean, scratch the violin from his 1947-song „Move It On Over“, amplify the guitars a bit, and you have a top-notch Presley hit.
I especially appreciate the inclusion of the essential and atypical „Ramblin’ Man“ – a song that wasn’t a hit in its own right (just the B-side of the posthumous #1 „Take These Chains From My Heart“), but stands out in Williams’ catalogue in several ways. I gather it gets its relative obscurity from the fact of it being released posthumously as well as straying far from Williams‘ usual honkytonk approach, into much more bluesy and singersongwriter territory. I used to think it was his most famous song as all my favourite bands covered it, but I’ve in fact met a professional country music performer who wasn’t aware of it. While it is hard to take the CDs in as a whole chunk though, you might not be able to do without this one, as this tracklist is the most concise release that still qualifies as somehow representative. There are larger, more essential compilations (like the 3-CD-set The Original Singles Collection… Plus – missing „Too Many Parties“) and of course the less handily affordable 10-CD-box set The Complete Hank Williams.