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The Records

June 26, 1988

Hank Williams recorded profusely during his brief period of stardom. Many of the songs became No. 1 country-music hits, and several others never were released during his lifetime. After his death, MGM continued to put out "new" Williams singles and albums, though many of these took original recordings and added orchestration and other touches that fans found offensive. In the late '70s, however, PolyGram records took over the Williams catalogue and ever since has been repackaging the material, emphasizing original versions and locating never-before-released demos, obscure singles and Williams esoterica, such as his radio transcripts and Luke the Drifter recordings.

Therefore, anyone who's buying a Hank Williams album for the first time should avoid the older MGM LPs in used record stores and seek out the newer PolyGram sets. If you only want one album, try "Hank Williams' 24 Greatest Hits," a budget-priced two-record set (Polydor). However, if you fall in love with that haunting voice and have about $100 to spend, then go for all eight volumes of PolyGram's incredible "Hank Williams Chronological Series." Each volume contains two records each, following the singer's recording history with incredible detail (great liner notes) and thoroughness.

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