You can call Wayne Hancock a throwback, and you certainly wouldn’t be wrong. After all, how many western-swing artists do you come across these days? The good thing is that you know what to expect when you hear a new Wayne Hancock album. That is particularly true for the new album Man of the Road. This is a collection of his early songs on Bloodshot Records, and it is as good as you’d expect.
This album takes you through familiar favorites like “A-Town Blues” and “Tulsa.” (Seriously. Apart from Pokey LaFarge, when do you hear clarinet unless you’re at a school recital?) Even if you’re a die-hard Hancock fan, hearing this collection of songs will make you want to boogie in your living room.
One of the highlights of the album is a live version of “Johnny Law.” This track is powered by a bass line that rivals Jimbo Wallace in backing The Reverend Horton Heat. To be clear, the guitar is nothing to be dismissed. In the instrumental break especially the guitar sounds a lot like Chuck Berry. Meanwhile the lyrics will have you singing along (and hoping that you avoid getting pulled over by Johnny Law.) Since it is a live version, you get to hear the crowd give their approval more than once. Even if you’re hearing it in your living room, you might want to holler yourself when you hear this one. Do yourself a favor, and crank the volume when you play this one.
The album closes with Hancock’s version of Wanda Jackson’s “Let’s Have a Party”. This song features a saxophone part that sounds straight out of an early 60s soul song. But wait! There’s more! It also features a piano part and a pedal steel part that are sure to get you moving. If you’re ever feeling down or you’re at a party that could use a little injection of life, this song is an excellent choice.
There’s no mystery to this album – particularly if you’re already a fan of Hancock. You hear some swinging melodies that are made to start people dancing. You hear bass lines that get your toes a-tapping. And you hear a lot of lyrics that are easy to sing along with. In other words, this compilation brings you the best of Hancock in one neat little package. Man of the Road: The Early Bloodshot Years will be available everywhere on November 15. Order your copy here.