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Hank Snow

The Essential Hank Snow – 1997 (RCA)

Reviewed by Jon Johnson

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CDs by Hank Snow

One constant criticism of RCA's "Essential" series ha sbeen too many tracks are anything but "essential." Important tracks are too often ignored in favor of minor hits and downright obscurities for the most unfathomable - and apparently arbitrary - of reasons.

Fortunately, this isn't the case with RCA's new Hank Snow collection. One can quibble about minor details (are we to believe that RCAreally doesn't know who produced 12 of the collection's 20 songs?) but this is a fine introduction to Snow's lengthy career. All seven of Snow's #1 hits from 1950-74 are here, including "I'm Movin' On" (an astonishing 21 weeks at #1 in 1950) and 1954's honky tonk masterpiece, "I Don't Hurt Anymore," which spent a mere 20 weeks in the top slot. Additionally, 13 other top10 hits featured, including the witty, Cindy Walker-penned "The Gold Rush Is Over" and "(Now and Then) There's a Fool Such as I" (later a major pop hit for Elvis Presley).

Too often forgotten nowadays is the fact that Snow was one of the finest country vocalists and guitarists of his generations. Though the sheer number of his hits practically demands a second Snow collection (fewer than half of his top 10 hits are included), this is certainly one of RCA's better "Essential" efforts.