- Number of Discs: 3
- Released: October 27, 2008
- Label: Time Life Records
Rolling Stone - p.1324.5 stars out of 5
-- "Williams' nasally drawl is crisp and strong, like the young Dylan without the sandpaper; he holds the long, desolate notes in 'Cool Water' with stunning force."
Dirty Linen - p.41
"Not only do the tracks brim with raw, unrestrained emotion, but they project a certain warmth and conviction, not to mention finesse, that give each song the necessary emotion it needs."
Mojo (Publisher) - p.1195 stars out of 5
-- "With a host of hymns, traditional songs and covers Williams never otherwise recorded, and one or two hitherto unknown originals, it's a thrilling new insight into a 20th century music colossus."
Record Collector (magazine) - p.1025 stars out of 5
-- "There's a looseness to many of Hank's performances....A mesmerizing and intimate portrait of country music's first superstar."
Tracks on Disc 1:
- 1.Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain
- 2.Dust on the Bible
- 3.I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry
- 4.I Heard My Savior Calling Me
- 5.Precious Lord, Take My Hand
- 6.Hey, Good Lookin'
- 7.On Top of Old Smokey
- 8.I Can't Tell My Heart That
- 9.I Dreamed That the Great Judgement Morning
- 10.Next Sunday Darling Is My Birthday
- 11.At the First Fall of Snow
- 12.Dear John
- 13.The Blind Child's Prayer
- 14.I'll Have a New Life
- 15.On the Banks of the Pontchartrain
- 16.Low and Lonely
- 17.Drifting Too Far from the Shore
- 18.I'm Gonna Sing
Tracks on Disc 2:
- 1.I Can't Help It (If I'm Still in Love with You)
- 2.Seaman's Blues
- 3.The Prodigal Son
- 4.Cherokee Boogie
- 5.Where He Leads Me
- 6.From Jerusalem to Jericho
- 7.Cool Water
- 8.I've Got My One-Way Ticket to the Sky
- 9.Searching for a Soldier's Grave
- 10.California Zephyr
- 11.Softly and Tenderly
- 12.Just When I Needed You
- 13.Gathering Flowers for the Master's Bouquet
- 14.Why Should We Try Any More
- 15.The Old Country Church
- 16.May You Never Be Alone
- 17.When the Fire Comes Down
- 18.Lonely Tombs
Tracks on Disc 3:
- 1.Pictures from Life's Other Side
- 2.I'll Fly Away
- 3.Cold, Cold Heart
- 4.Have I Told You Lately That I Love You
- 5.When God Dips His Love in My Heart
- 6.Thy Burdens Are Greater Than Mine
- 7.When the Saints Go Marchin' In
- 8.I'll Sail My Ship Alone
- 9.Wedding Bells
- 10.Mind Your Own Business
- 11.You Blotted My Happy Schooldays
- 12.Where the Soul Never Dies
- 13.Pins and Needles (In My Heart)
- 14.Tennessee Border
- 15.There's Nothing as Sweet as My Baby
- 16.Wait for the Light to Shine
- 17.If I Didn't Love You
- 18.The Pale Horse and His Rider
Personnel: Hank Williams (vocals, guitar); Cousin Louie Buck (spoken vocals); Samuel K. "Sammy" Pruett (guitar); Jerry Rivers (fiddle); Howard Watts (bass guitar); Audrey Williams (background vocals).
Liner Note Authors: Colin Escott; Jett Williams.
Authors: F. Keith Adkinson; Jett Williams.
As important as any country music release in the digital era, HANK WILLIAMS: THE UNRELEASED RECORDINGS finds Williams delivering some of the most impactful performances of his career. Captured during his artistic zenith in 1951 for the Mother's Best Flour Company, these sessions' acetates were forgotten until the 1970s. Eventually Williams's daughter Jett won a protracted legal battle and partnered with Time Life for their release. Mastered without the severe compression that bedeviled his most famous studio recordings, the 143 tracks foreground Williams's expressive vocal delivery as it seesaws between a yearning rustic croon and shiv-sharp, reedy wail. A loose Hank jokes with his studio band and even tells stories about some of the songs as he introduces them. Touching upon his classics like "Cold, Cold Heart," "Hey, Good Lookin'," and "I Can't Help It (If I'm Still in Love with You)," the bulk of the three discs comprises songs that pop up nowhere else in the country god's catalog. Among these many standouts include charged readings of "On Top of Old Smokey," the cowboy standard "Cool Water," and the Luke the Drifter song "Pictures from Life's Other Side" (with a never-before-heard extra verse). An essential purchase for country music fans and enthusiasts of all stripes.