Ken Tucker
April 02, 1993 AT 05:00 AM EST

Hank Williams: The Complete Lyrics

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Don Cusic
genre
Music

We gave it a C

Commonly considered the greatest songwriter in country-music history, Hank Williams (1923-1953) brought a rattled gospel fervor and blues despair to his work. Don Cusic’s Hank Williams: The Complete Lyrics is intended to bestow literary respect upon Williams’ songcraft by printing the words to all of his known compositions. As in the best popular music, however, Williams’ lyrics cannot be separated from their melodies or their performances — the simplicity of the language, which leaves room for the author’s magnificently wracked vocals, seems merely trite and repetitive in a book.

It should also be said that Cusic’s book suffers from his own banally grandiloquent introduction (”Genius is part instinctive, part intuitive…”). Almost any Hank Williams greatest-hits collection would rate an A; this book is a mere C.

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