Compare & Contrast: Cash & Green Do Hank (With Bonus Cat)

Hank Williams.

Hank Williams.

Hank Williams released I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry in 1949, as a b-side to the slightly less impressive My Bucket’s Got A Hole In It. Four years later, Williams died alone, in the back of a hired Cadillac.

Hank Williams: I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry (single, 1949).

His death in 1953, at the age of 30, was a terrible shame; apart from the obvious reasons (he was a great songwriter, he had kids), his passing meant Williams never got to hear two of the finest vocalists of the 20th century doing one of his best songs.

Al Green, he of the whispered honey vocals, relocates the track from under the empty skies of the country into the inner city, at night, lonely under a streetlight:

Al Green: I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry (from Call Me, 1973).

Cash sings it like young Hank never could, with a voice worn out from life, frayed by the singer’s proximity to death:

Johnny Cash: I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry (from American IV: The Man Comes Around, 2002).

If he had somehow made it to the age of 85, Old Hank would’ve been treated to Chan Marshall wrapping her velvet lips around Ramblin’ Man:

Cat Power: Ramblin’ (Wo)man (from Jukebox, 2008).

Posted By: Anton

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