#8. Settin’ The Woods On Fire
Another partying anthem, Williams sings this upbeat single with gusto.
The song, actually written not by Hank but by Fred Rose – a close associate of Williams’ – uses several comparative adjectives such as “I’ll look swell but you’ll look sweller” and “You act proud and I’ll act prouder”, showing how grand his ole jamboree will be. It is known it will be only a night but nothing else matters other than right now with the momentous celebrations about to ensue.
The single gives the perspective of a loved-up couple who are simply set out for a good time, to have careless fun not caring “who thinks we’re silly.” This will feature a lively atmosphere including “two bowls of chilli”, showing off “a brand new dance that never has been done”, and doing “all the law’s allowing.”
The song’s theme is supported by a strong backbeat, keeping a jive rhythm that serves to create a real southern-style party-esque appeal.
#7. Lost On The River
Not a song you’ll see on many greatest Hank Williams songs lists, Lost On The River is a melancholy song about being lost on “the river of life.”
Played only on a solitary acoustic guitar, it is a song of sadness, with the abandonment of a lover, singing “Thinking of you and how my heart weeps, tomorrow you’ll be another man’s wife.”
Rather oddly, the song was sung alongside Hank’s partner Audrey Williams, upon initial release in 1948. Audrey often laid criticisms at Hank’s style of performance and despite herself being “a hard-boiled, blue-eyed bitch…[who was] horrible, unbelievably horrible” according to Louisiana Hayride producer Horace Logan. Williams himself once commented: “it’s rough to have a wife who wants to sing, but it’s hell to have a wife who wants to sing and can’t.”
A later solo recording serves the song better, with a slower pace and a singular focus on Hank’s soulful vocals. No Drifting Cowboys but a single, down-on-his-luck narrator singing from the heart about how he has become disillusioned and directionless in life after being ruined by his love.