Straight to Hell: Hank3

Rating: 90%

Hank_III_Straight_to_Hell“Straight to Hell” is a double CD release by Hank3 in 2006. When I heard this album for the first time, I remember thinking about how much darker in lyrical terms it was compared to the first two albums Hank3 released. Musically, it’s a lot heavier. Also, this was the first Country music album to wear the Parental Advisory for lyrical content and to where Wal-mart had a clean version of the album for it’s customers to buy. Again, Hank3’s third album here is much darker and heavier than his previous two, but it is an enjoyable album, if one can handle the drug references and the F bomb.

The album begins with a sweet melody that seems to be old timey. After that introduction, it’s full throttle for the most part. Some of my favorite early Hank3 songs are on this album. The entire album has a good clean sound with the exception of the second disc which is more background noise driven. Musically, this album is a mixture of gospel, traditional Country, Heavy Metal, and Punk thrown in and incorporated into Hank3’s main sound. Instrumentation is very good all around.

Lyrically, this album is very dark. Lots of drug references may keep the traditional Country fan from enjoying his music, or at least make it uncomfortable for the listener. Hank3 also pays tribute to some of his Country music heroes including Waylon Jennings. Anther interesting point, it seems that Hank3 is really pissed off. Number one he’s pissed at the record company, two, I think he’s a bit pissed off at his father and adopted son Kid Rock. “Not Everybody Likes Us” is a good song to listen to in order to hear what I mean. There is also a good bit of humor in the lyrics. “My Drinkin’ Problem” is a humorous song about a woman telling her man to quit his drinking or she’ll leave him. After nearly drinking himself to death to see if she would really would leave, she did.

I love Hank3’s music. He is a brilliant musician, song writer, and entertainer. There is no comparison of Hank3’s style to compare it to, but vocally, I swear he is just like his grandfather Hank Williams.

Track listing:

Disc I:

1. “Satan Is Real / Straight to Hell (Medley)” 3:08
2. “Thrown Out of the Bar”  2:07
3. “Things You Do to Me”  2:22
4. “Country Heroes” 3:29
5. “D. Ray White” 3:47
6. “Low Down” 3:24
7. “Pills I Took”  2:31
8. “Smoke & Wine” 2:36
9. “My Drinkin’ Problem” 2:42
10. “Crazed Country Rebel”  3:09
11. “Dick in Dixie”  2:37
12. “Not Everybody Likes Us” 4:30
13. “Angel of Sin” 6:07

Disc II:

1. “Louisiana Stripes”  3:28
Medley
2. “I Could Never Be Ashamed of You” 42:00
3. “Smoke & Wine (Slowed Down Version)”
4. “Alone & Dying”
5. “On My Own”
6. “Back by My Side”
7. “Take My Pain”
8. “What’s His Name”
9. “Loaded 44”
10. “Up in Smoke”

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Somewhere Between Heaven and Hell: Social Distortion

Rating: 90%

Social_Distortion_-_Somewhere_Between_Heaven_and_Hell_cover1992 was the year that “Somewhere Between Heaven and Hell” by Social D was released. The album features some very talented musicians. The musicianship is incredible. Lead vocalist and lead guitarist Mike Ness whose voice is whiskey drench sings the blues or country and punk as if those genres were created for him. His leads and riffs are so precise. Rhythm guitarist Dennis Danell throws out such good riffs. He actually compliments Mike Ness’s style. Plenty of great bass by John Maurer. The drum lines by Christopher Reece are wonderfully done.

Musically, this album is rock solid from start to finish. It flows very well. The influences from Punk, Country, Blues, Rock n’ Roll, and Rockabilly are  so balanced. It’s heavy, but it could be played on any radio station no matter the genre. It’s very energetic and powerful. Everything in so in tuned here from the melodies to the harmony of the instruments to the vocals.

Track listing:

“Cold Feelings” – 3:31
“Bad Luck” – 4:26
“Making Believe” (Jimmy Work) – 4:12
“Born to Lose” – 4:09
“Bye Bye Baby” – 3:06
“When She Begins” – 5:04
“99 to Life” – 4:28
“King of Fools” (W.E. Bruce) – 2:50
“Sometimes I Do” – 4:01
“This Time Darlin’ ” – 4:08
“Ghost Town Blues” – 4:38

The Pursuit Of Happiness: The Beat Farmers

Rating: 90%

r-593302-1135993129-jpegI was introduced to the Beat Farmers shortly after this release in 1988. It was Country, it was Punk, it was Rockabilly, and it was Rock. I didn’t know how to take the band at first, but I quickly grew to love the Beat Farmers.

The musicianship is extremely tight with this group. The band members often switched instruments, but you had guitarist & vocalist Joey Harris, bassist Rolle Love Bass, drummer, pianist, vocalist & guitarist Country Dick Montana, and drummer, vocalist, harp, & guitarist Jerry Raney.

Musically, this is Country music done in a fun way that was just as traditional as any. Their style of Punk, traditional Country, and Rock n’ Roll is remarkable. The guitar work is truly a work of art. The remake of Johnny Cash’s “Red River” is wonderfully done. Country Dick has that voice that is deep enough to pull a great cover off. The lead guitar that is heavily distorted is amazing.

The Beat Farmers were one of those bands that were somewhat popular and then after the death of Country Dick, just went their own ways. “The Pursuit of Happiness” is still one of my favorite albums of theirs.

Track listing:

Hollywood Hills 4:21
Ridin’ 4:08
Dark Light 4:08
Make It Last 4:04
Key To The World 3:22
God Is Here Tonight 3:40
Big Big Man 3:58
Elephant Day Parade 2:44
Rosie 2:23
Texas 3:26
Big River 2:36