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Hank Thompson

A Six Pack to Go – 2004 (Sundazed)

Reviewed by Jon Johnson

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CDs by Hank Thompson

This is the kind of album a major country artist would be unlikely to release these days: An entire album of nothing but songs about drinking beer and hanging out in bars! Released in 1966, 2 years after Thompson had left his longtime label, Capitol Records, "A Six Pack to Go" was a collection of tracks recorded between 1950 ("A Broken Heart and a Glass of Beer") and 1962 (a re-recording of his earlier hit "The Wild Side of Life").

In spite of the fact that recording technology changed a great deal during that period, the album hangs together better than one might otherwise expect. Chalk this up in large part to the excellence of the Capitol studios of that period, consistently superb musicianship (Thompson's longtime studio collaborator Merle Travis is on hand for all but the earliest number) and a well-developed style - a mixture of honky-tonk and western swing - that Thompson has never departed much from between the late '40s and the present day.

A fine reissue which includes both the original liner notes and new liner notes by Rich Kienzle. "A Six Pack to Go" is an excellent soundtrack for an evening of knocking back a few cold ones with friends.