It's always difficult to find the right gift for the collectors on your list. It's particularly tough if they're into Hank Williams, since just about every sound the country legend put to tape has already been released, reissued and repackaged numerous times. Well, Time Life has come up with something even Hank's most obsessive fanatics won't already own - three CDs of his 1951 radio broadcast performances with the Drifting Cowboys for the Mother's Best Flour Show.
These are brilliant studio-recorded live sessions in which he sings his best-loved songs as well as contemporary covers and a heaping helping of hymns that reveal more of the process behind his creative choices. The 54 "lost" tunes are as good or better than the issued versions of the songs and represent the first instalment of the 143 cut by Williams for 72 shows discovered on acetates in the Grand Ole Opry archives. They've been lovingly cleaned up and presented with brilliant rare photos and authoritative notes by music historian Colin Escott.
Available for $47.99 at HMV (333 Yonge and other locations), 416-586-9668.