This week’s Sound Check begins with my review of Susan Masino’s book concerning the different generations of Hank Williams’ family, followed by leftover 2016 music from Dee Snider and a Roy Orbison DVD/CD that updates his iconic 1987 performance.
‘Family Tradition: Three Generations Of Hank Williams,’ Susan Masino (Backbeat Books,☆☆☆☆☆)
I found out about Susan Masino’s book via Facebook, and she kindly got her publisher to send me a review copy. I reviewed her “Let There Be Rock: The Story Of AC/DC” long ago.
The first part of this offering from the author concerns Hank Sr.’s life and untimely death, which I knew a lot about thanks to Bob Pinson’s “Sing A Sad Song: The Life Of Hank Williams,” and other sources. Hank Jr.’s early book, “Living Proof,” and the TV-movie starring Richard Thomas detailing his life and face-changing Montana mountain fall, are slightly familiar. Hank III’s music and turbulent life story are detailed here. I won’t reveal any spoilers, but things have likely evolved since this book’s 2011 copyright.
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Masino’s style makes it an easy, enjoyable read.
‘We Are The Ones,’ Dee Snider (Red River Entertainment,☆☆☆☆)
This late-2016 recording (likely available in many formats) comes from the former Twisted Sister front man. His studio band features guitarists Damon Ranger and Dan McCafferty, bassist Victoria Park, keyboardists Ranger, Frank Lucas and Tim Maeder, drummer Mark Schulman plus too many School Of Rock backing vocalists to list. Ranger also handles production.
The opener, “We Are The Ones,” sounds properly Twisted. Other songs like “Close To You” are partially cool, but like the piano-powered “We’re Not Gonna Take It,” are too smooth. The blazing “Crazy For Nothing” and a respectable “Head Like A Hole” cover are my other favorites. This will be a good one for Twisted Sister and Dee Snider fans.
‘Black & White Night 30,’ Roy Orbison (Roy’s Boys LLC/Legacy,☆☆☆☆☆)
This Feb. 24 CD/DVD presents a newly imagined version of Roy’s immortal 1987 “Black & White Night” comeback concert. This new version will be aired in part by PBS during March; but probably not with all these features: six alternate versions including five bonus songs from a “secret concert” after the crowd departed and bonus rehearsal footage with photo gallery.
The string section wearing shades, the amazed looks from friends like T Bone Burnett, Bruce Springsteen, Elvis Costello, James Burton and more plus the excellent playing of the musicians are my favorite features. The songs speak for themselves: “In Dreams,” “Crying,” “Leah,” “It’s Over,” Costello’s “The Comedians,” my favorite “Running Scared,” “Candy Man,” “Claudette,” “Blue Bayou,” “Uptown” and many others.
This is a wonderful treat for Orbison fans or curiosity seekers.
Ricky Flake, a former punk rocker and current music fan, lives in Biloxi. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org