Hank finally stepped out from his father's big shadow with the country smashes featured on this multi-million seller.
This is Hank Jr. in his late-'70s/early-'80s version, that brief moment after he'd discovered a sound and persona that wasn't just inherited but before he devolved into a good-old-boy caricature. Not that Bocephus isn't engaging in some posturing here already--the preposterous "Texas Women," for example, could stand unaltered as a Saturday Night Live
parody of redneck lechery. More often, though, the 10 hit singles on this disc combine a low-key brand of Southern rock boogie with plenty of twang to fashion a wholly distinctive take on country tradition. Williams's work here is always indelible, and though he likes to drop his daddy's name a bit too often, it's hard to argue with introspective numbers like "All My Rowdy Friends (Have Settled Down)" and "Family Tradition," which each offer a unique and timeless take on the honky-tonk blues. --David Cantwell