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The Albums of Hank Locklin

The Albums of Hank Locklin

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Published by Michael Erlewine
A brief biography of Hank Locklin and an album guide by Michael Erlewine, founder of the All-Music Guide and author of the book “Blues in Black & White: The Landmark Ann Arbor Blues Festivals.”
A brief biography of Hank Locklin and an album guide by Michael Erlewine, founder of the All-Music Guide and author of the book “Blues in Black & White: The Landmark Ann Arbor Blues Festivals.”

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Published by: Michael Erlewine on Jan 07, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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The Albums of Hank Locklin
 
The Albums of Hank Locklin
 by Michael ErlewineHank Locklin (Lawrence HankinsLocklin), one of country music's greattenors, was born February 15, 1918 inthe small town of McLellan located inthe lumbering district of the FloridaPanhandle. The youngest son of fourchildren, he went to a one-roomschoolhouse and was musical even as ayoung child. Hank was injured at theage of eight in an accident and the longrecovery process was the time when hefirst begin to learn music. Althoughinterested in the guitar early on, it wasnot until his mid-teens that he reallybegan to master that instrument. Hankwas active in music in high school(which he never finished.), and ateighteen won first prize in a talent show.He went on to do spots on the localradio station as he became more andmore interested in entertaining. By themid-1940s he was playing on the radioand doing in-person performances inFlorida and nearby states. For the nextten years of so, Locklin worked many jobs (musical and otherwise), playedwith a variety of groups, and, through avariety of trials, gradually worked hisway up the country music ladder torecogition. A good account of theseyears can be found in the Bear Familybox liner notes as written by OttoKissinger.His career did not really take off until he joined the RCA Victor label in the Springof 1955. Locklin's work with RCA hasthe added advantage that almost all of itwas produced by Chet Atkins, often withAtkins himself on rhythm or lead guitarand with the added trills and fill-ins ofFloyd Kramer on piano. The extremesimplicity of his early works makes thiscombination of his clear voice and theseparticular sidemen very effective. Hank'sbig popular hits "Send me the Pillow thatyou Dream On" (written by Locklin),"Geisha Girl," and "Please Help Me I'mFalling" everyone knows, but realLocklin fans are in love with his verysimple heartfelt tunes like "Who Am I toCast the First Stone," "A Good Woman'sLove," "Seven or Eleven," "I'm Tired ofBummin' Around," "Golden Wristwatch,""Sitting Alone at a Table for Two," andmany others. These early songs arecharacterized by Locklin's crystal cleartenor, the ultra-simplicity of the songsthemselves, and their straight-to-theheart emotional plea. Kitty Wells hasthis same kind of gift. The result is agroup of incredible songs that, firstreleased as singles, later becameavailable on Camden, RCA's budgetlabel. Now, after many years of neglect,many of these songs are now available
on the Bear family Box “Hank Locklin,Please Help Me I'm Falling” Locklin
stayed with the RCA label until the mid1960s.Locklin helped pioneer the idea of
concept albums; his albums; “ForeignLove” and “Irish Songs, Country Style”
are examples. He also recorded an
album tribute to Roy Acuff, “A Tribute toRoy Accuff, King of Country Music”. His
Irish songs are pretty near definitive. Astime goes by, the vocal chorus begins tocreep into the Locklin albums a littlemore than purists might like, but hiscrystal clear tenor never deserts him.Hank hit the top-ten charts again in the1968 with "The Country Hall of Fame."In the 1970s he toured overseas often,was very popular in Ireland and GreatBritian, and made at least one tour withChet Atkins to the far East (Japan). Afterleaving RCA, he went on to record for a

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