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Music / Turn Back the Years: The Essential Hank Williams Collection

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Turn Back the Years: The Essential Hank Williams Collection is a 2005 posthumous Greatest Hits Album by Hank Williams that got excellent reviews and was even included in Time Magazine's 2006 list of 100 essential music albums.

The album is a Distinct Double Album, divided in three separate CDs, according to themes in Williams' work. The first is about his barroom anthems, the second is devoted to his lonesome heartbreak songs and the third contains his spiritual and religious work. Far from being the most complete compilation of Williams' songs around it does present his work as more deep and versatile than one would assume from your average country singer. Therefore it's an essential introduction to his work.



CD One: Honky Tonkin'

  1. "Honky Tonkin'" (2:45)
  2. "Rockin' Chair Money" (2:06)
  3. "I'm a Long Gone Daddy" (2:50)
  4. "I've Been Down That Road Before" (2:57)
  5. "Moanin' the Blues" (2:24)
  6. "(I Heard That) Lonesome Whistle" (2:27)
  7. "Rootie Tootie" (2:46)
  8. "You Better Keep It on Your Mind" (2:23)
  9. "Settin' the Woods on Fire" (2:37)
  10. "Wearin' Out Your Walkin' Shoes" (1:37)
  11. "Too Many Parties and Too Many Pals" (3:00)
  12. "Ramblin' Man" (3:03)
  13. "Tennessee Border" (1:54)
  14. "Howlin' at the Moon" (2:43)
  15. "Move It On Over" (2:45)
  16. "Hey Hood Lookin'" (2:55)
  17. "Leave Me Alone with the Blues" (2:18)
  18. "Lost Highway" (2:43)
  19. "There's a Tear in My Beer" (2:49)
  20. "Honky Tonk Blues" (2:10)

CD Two: Cold, Cold Heart

  1. "Lovesick Blues" (2:44)
  2. "Wedding Bells" (2:54)
  3. "A Mansion on the Hill" (2:34)
  4. "I'm Free at Last" (2:23)
  5. "My Love for You (Has Turned to Hate)" (2:41)
  6. "Your Cheatin' Heart" (2:42)
  7. "First Year Blues" (2:26)
  8. "On the Banks of the Old Pontchartrain" (2:51)
  9. "May You Never Be Alone" (2:50)
  10. "A House Without Love" (2:53)
  11. "They'll Never Take Her Love from Me" (2:44)
  12. "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" (2:46)
  13. "Let's Turn Back the Years" (2:23)
  14. "I'm So Tired of It All" (2:21)
  15. "Cold, Cold Heart" (2:43)
  16. "Weary Blues from Waiting" (2:27)
  17. "You Win Again" (2:36)
  18. "Fool About You" (1:23)
  19. "Please Make Up Your Mind" (2:49)
  20. "I Can't Escape from You" (2:14)

CD Three: I Saw the Light

  1. "I Saw the Light" (2:44)
  2. "Thy Burdens Are Greater Than Mine" (3:30)
  3. "Callin You" (2:54)
  4. "Wealth Won't Save Your Soul" (2:47)
  5. "The Pale Horse and His Rider" (2:54)
  6. "Beyond the Sunset" (3:00)
  7. "Are You Walkin' and a Talkin' for the Lord?" (2:45)
  8. "Let the Spirit Descend" (2:07)
  9. "The Battle of Armageddon" (2:29)
  10. "Alone and Forsaken" (2:01)
  11. "Drifting Too Far from the Shore" (3:15)
  12. "A House of Gold" (2:16)
  13. "Where the Soul of Man Never Dies" (1:50)
  14. "How Can You Refuse Him Now?" (2:36)
  15. "A Tramp on the Street" (3:39)
  16. "Lost on the River" (1:51)
  17. "When God Dips His Love in My Heart" (2:25)
  18. "'Neath a Cold Gray Tomb of Stone" (2:42)
  19. "I'll Have a New Body (I'll Have a New Life)" (2:06)
  20. "Angel of Death" (2:20)

Trope Back the Years:

  • Accentuate the Negative: The first two CD's deal with lonesomeness and love life troubles and drowning it all away with alcohol. The third CD deals with spiritual songs, though death and redemption are huge themes as well.
  • Album Title Drop: "Let's Turn Back The Years"
    Let's turn back the years
  • Alliterative Title: "Wearin' Out Your Walkin' Shoes", "Too Many Parties and Too Many Pals", "There's A Tear In My Beer", "Weary Blues From Waiting", "Cold Cold Heart", "Wealth Won't Save Your Soul".
  • Break Up Song: Mostly the songs on CD 2.
  • Cradle of Loneliness: (I Heart That) Lonesome Whistle", "Leave Me Alone With The Blues", "Alone And Forsaken", "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry".
  • Distinct Double Album: It's a three CD set, each disc organized around a particular theme found in Williams' work.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: "There's A Tear In My Beer".
    I have shed a million tears.
    You are on my lonely mind
    I'm gonna keep drinkin' until I'm petrified.
  • Drunken Song: All the songs on CD 1.
  • Face on the Cover: Hank playing guitar, seen in silhouette.
  • The First Cut Is the Deepest: "Cold Cold Heart":
    Another love before my time made your heart sad and blue
    And so my heart is paying now for things I didn't do
    In anger unkind words are said that make the teardrops start
    Why can't I free your doubtful mind,and melt your cold cold heart?
  • God-Is-Love Songs: The third CD mostly has songs in this vain.
  • Grief Song: "Angel Of Death"
    Can you truthfully say
    With your dying breath
    That you're ready to meet
    The Angel of Death?
  • Long Title: Hank Williams was known for singing songs with long titles.
  • Miniscule Rocking: "Wearin' Out Your Walkin' Shoes", "Tennessee Border", "Fool About You", "Where The Soul Of A Man Never Dies", "Lost On The River" are all under two minutes long.
  • One-Man Song: "I'm A Long Gone Daddy", "Ramblin' Man".
  • Playing with Fire: "Settin' The Woods On Fire"
    I'll gas up my hot rod stoker we'll get hotter than a poker
    You'll be broke but I'll be broker tonight we're settin' the woods on fire
  • Questioning Title?: "Are You Walkin' And A Talkin' For The Lord?", "How Can You Refuse Him Now?"
  • Rule of Three: Three thematically separated CD's.
  • Something Blues: "Moanin' The Blues", "Leave Me Alone With The Blues", "Honky Tonk Blues", "Lovesick Blues", "First Year Blues", "Weary Blues From Waiting".
  • Wanderlust Song: "Ramblin' Man":
    I can settle down and be doin' just fine
    Til I hear an old freight rollin' down the line
    Then I hurry straight home and pack
    And if I didn't go, I believe I'd blow my stack.
  • Your Cheating Heart: "Your Cheatin' Heart", about an adulterous female partner, is considered to be the Trope Namer.
    Your cheatin' heart will make you weep,
    You'll cry and cry and try to sleep.
    But sleep won't come the whole night through,
    Your cheatin' heart will tell on you.


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