The Pathway of My Life: 1966-1986

The Pathway of My Life: 1966-1986

by Hank ThompsonHank Thompson


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Early in his extensive liner notes for Bear Family's eight-disc box The Pathway of My Life: 1966-1986, Scott B. Bomar quotes something Hank Thompson told his biographer, Warren Kice: "I was never happy with those records and I never thought it was my thing. Nobody wanted to do my style of music and I never was able to get the records with Dot that I did with Capitol." Presumably, Thompson held the records he made for Warner Bros., ABC, and Churchill -- the other three labels he recorded for after leaving Capitol in 1964 -- in a similar low regard and, to an extent, his mild disdain is understandable. The Capitol records he made with his Brazos Valley Boys between 1947 and 1965 -- boxed up, along with his handful of sides for Globe and Blue Bonnet, in Bear Family's 12-disc 1996 box Hank Thompson & His Brazos Valley Boys -- were indeed the singer's popular and creative peak, monumental Western swing that rivaled Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys. The 20 years of music collected on The Pathway of My Life sees Thompson constantly adjusting to the times, first by trimming his group, which reached 14 musicians at its peak, to a core five or six, then allowing producer Joe Allison to sweeten his Western swing with syrupy backing vocals -- a questionable idea made distasteful by the decision to have the singers mimic steel guitar lines. Allison added these sugary vocals with the intent of polishing Thompson up for the changing pop charts and it worked, with "On Tap in the Can or in the Bottle" and "Smoky the Bar" reaching the Top Ten in 1968. Beneath that gloss -- and it's possible to hear around these tacky accouterments, as the whittled-down band remains muscular and is sometimes accentuated by guitarist Merle Travis -- this music is hard Texas country and, once he parted ways with Allison and moved from Warner to ABC, the purity of his country could easily be heard. At times, he'd follow the shifting tides of fashion -- it's disarming to hear fuzz guitars on the Allison-era "But That's All Right" but natural to hear him sing "Behind Closed Doors" -- and sometimes he'd indulge in a bout of nostalgia (he recorded a nice tribute to the Mills Brothers in the early '70s, and it's fun to hear him reconnect to his big-band roots), but he generally stuck to his tried-and-true Texas country. His last Top Ten was called "The Older the Violin, the Sweeter the Music," a nod to his advancing age, and if the productions of the late '70s and early '80s do sound a little brittle and cheap, the same can't be said of Thompson himself: as this big box proves, he was a warm, robust, cheerful vocalist who made sweet music.

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Product Details

Release Date: 11/12/2013
Label: Bear Family Germany
UPC: 5397102172601
catalogNumber: 0217260
Rank: 161771


Disc 1

  1. If I Lose You Tomorrow
  2. I'll Set My Teardrops To Music
  3. Number One On the Hurt Parade
  4. I've Got a Date With a Teardrop
  5. Clubs, Spades, Diamonds and Hearts
  6. The Great Society
  7. On Tap, In the Can, or In the Bottle
  8. Let the Four Winds Choose
  9. New Blackboard of My Heart
  10. Smoky the Bar
  11. The Big One Got Away
  12. Lend Me a Dollar
  13. Where is the Circus
  14. Love Walked Out Long Before She Did
  15. He's Got a Way With Women
  16. I See Them Everywhere
  17. Green Light
  18. Most of All
  19. Whoa Sailor
  20. Humpty Dumpty Heart
  21. Squaws Along the Yukon
  22. Today
  23. Breaking the Rules
  24. Tomorrow Night
  25. Wildwood Flower
  26. John Henry
  27. Take the 'a' Train
  28. Brazos Valley Blues
  29. La Golondrina
  30. Steel Guitar Rag
  31. Turkey On the Strings
  32. Chihuahua Polka
  33. Ja-Da

Disc 2

  1. When the Saints Go Marching In
  2. Fiddleitis
  3. Maiden's Prayer/Faded Love
  4. Salute To Bob
  5. Cold Cold Heart
  6. I'm Movin' On
  7. Six Days On the Road
  8. Walking the Floor Over You
  9. She Thinks I Still Care
  10. Together Again
  11. Slipping Around
  12. Smoke Smoke Smoke That Cigarette
  13. He'll Have To Go
  14. Sixteen Tons
  15. Pop a Top
  16. New Records On the Jukebox
  17. Cocaine Blues
  18. Bright Lights and Blonde Haired Women
  19. What's Made Milwaukee Famous
  20. Ace In the Hole
  21. Let's Get Drunk and Be Somebody
  22. My Rough and Rowdy Ways
  23. Drunkard's Blues
  24. Girl In the Night
  25. The Pathway of My Life
  26. At Certain Times
  27. Mutiny On the Monotony
  28. Drunkard's Blues
  29. Girl In the Night

Disc 3

  1. Oklahoma Hills
  2. Dusty Skies
  3. Dear Okie
  4. Oklahoma Home Brew
  5. The Everlasting Hills of Oklahoma
  6. Take Me Back To Tulsa
  7. Guthrie
  8. Happy Oklahoma
  9. O-K-L-A-H-O-M-A
  10. Homesick, Lonesome, Hillbilly Okie
  11. Big Boat Across Oklahoma
  12. Oklahoma Stomp
  13. Guthrie
  14. I'm Afraid That I Lied
  15. But That's All Right
  16. One of the Fortunate Few
  17. Take It All Away
  18. Cozy Inn
  19. Everybody Loves a Pretty Baby
  20. Where My Sweet Baby Used To Walk
  21. Next Time I Fall In Love (I Won't)
  22. I'd Do It Again
  23. Swing Wide Your Gate of Love
  24. Waiting In the Lobby of Your Heart
  25. We've Gone Too Far
  26. The Wild Side of Life
  27. Yesterday's Girl
  28. It's Better To Have Loved a Little
  29. But That's All Right
  30. One of the Fortunate Few

Disc 4

  1. I'll Be Around
  2. Gloria
  3. Glow Worm
  4. Be My Life's Companion
  5. Paper Doll
  6. Till Then
  7. You Always Hurt the One You Love
  8. Cab Driver
  9. Lazy River
  10. You're Nobody till Somebody Loves You
  11. Across the Alley From the Alamo
  12. Promise Her Anything
  13. The Mark of a Heel
  14. I've Come Awful Close
  15. That's Why I Sing In a Honky Tonk
  16. Fifteen Dollar Draw
  17. Roses In the Wine
  18. Teardrops On the Rocks
  19. The Older the Violin, the Sweeter the Music
  20. Kindly Keep It Country
  21. Jill's Jack In the Box
  22. The Lord Knows I'm Drinking
  23. Loving On Back Streets
  24. Southern Loving
  25. It's Four In the Morning
  26. Behind Closed Doors
  27. I Ain't Never
  28. A Six Pack To Go
  29. When My Blue Moon Turns To Gold Again
  30. Whatever's Left
  31. The Corner of My Life
  32. I Recall a Gypsy Woman

Disc 5

  1. Won't You Ride In My Little Red Wagon
  2. Who Left the Door To Heaven Open
  3. The Same Old Way
  4. Let It Burn
  5. Red Necks, White Socks and Blue Ribbon Beer
  6. Country Bumpkin
  7. There's a Honky Tonk Angel (Who'll Take Me Back In)
  8. Wait a Little Longer Baby
  9. Mama Don't Allow No Music
  10. Fair Weather Love
  11. After You Have Made Me Over
  12. That's Just My Truckin' Luck
  13. Mississippi Sam
  14. Answer Me, My Love
  15. Ramblin' Rose
  16. Mona Lisa
  17. A Blossom Fell
  18. It's Only a Paper Moon
  19. If I May
  20. Too Young
  21. The Gypsy
  22. Pretend
  23. That's All There is, There Isn't Any More
  24. Oh Mary Don't You Weep
  25. Annie Over
  26. Hangover Tavern
  27. She's Just a Whole Lot Like You
  28. The Same Old Way

Disc 6

  1. Modine
  2. Golden Turnpike In the Sky
  3. I Lost My Love to a Truck Drivin' Man
  4. Movin' On
  5. Trucker's Lullaby
  6. Fifteen Miles To Clarksville
  7. Asphalt Cowboy
  8. Truck Driver's Turn Them On
  9. Fifteen Gears
  10. Truck It On Down To My House Baby
  11. Honky Tonk Girl
  12. I'll Sign My Heart Away
  13. Yesterday's Girl
  14. Another Shot of Toddy
  15. Forgive Me
  16. Play For Me One Polka
  17. Big Band Days
  18. Bring Back the Waltzes
  19. Three Little Swigs
  20. Don't Get Around Much Anymore
  21. Bummin' Around
  22. Just One Step Away
  23. Absent Minded Me
  24. Comin' In For Rye
  25. Johnny On the Spot
  26. Simple Simon, Simple Heart
  27. It Gets More Like Monday Everyday
  28. When You've Seen One Broken Heart
  29. Just an Old Flame
  30. Tell Me When the Flag is Passing By
  31. Time Wounds All Heels
  32. It's Five O'Clock Somewhere

Disc 7

  1. Ages and Ages Ago
  2. She Loves the One She's With
  3. If Worst Come To Worst
  4. Window In My Heart
  5. If I Had One Ounce of Sense
  6. We Don't Love There Anymore
  7. Cheaters Never Win
  8. Dance With Me Molly
  9. Point of No Return
  10. Signs of Love
  11. That Want You, Need You, Got to Have You Feelin'
  12. Through the Bottom of the Glass
  13. I Hear the South Callin' Me
  14. Tony's Tank-Up, Drive-In Cafe
  15. Money Trouble and Love
  16. I'm Just Gettin' By
  17. Have a Good Time
  18. World's Greatest Feelin'
  19. Take Me Back To Tulsa
  20. Gettin' Down, Gettin' Together, Gettin' In Love
  21. Texans and Okies
  22. Rollin' In Your Sweet Sunshine
  23. One Hell of a Weekend
  24. You're Poppin' Tops
  25. Star of the Starlight Saloon
  26. The King of Western Swing
  27. A Little More Country
  28. If I Were In Your Shoes
  29. Pistol Packing Mama
  30. Driving Nails In My Coffin
  31. Whatever Happened To Mary
  32. The Convict and the Rose

Disc 8

  1. All That Goes Up
  2. Big Boat Across Oklahoma
  3. Cocaine Blues
  4. Drop Me Gently (So My Heart Won't Break)
  5. Shame On You
  6. Rockin' In the Congo
  7. Stars and Strips On Iwo Jima
  8. Take the 'a' Train
  9. Hello Request Line
  10. Let's Stop What We Started
  11. Honey's Mobile Love Repair
  12. Always a Lady
  13. I Woke Up With a Few
  14. Rainy Days and Whiskey Nights
  15. Once In a Blue Moon
  16. A Six Pack To Go
  17. The Wild Side of Life
  18. Oklahoma Hills
  19. Breakin' the Rules
  20. Blondes With No Last Name
  21. Walkin' On New Grass
  22. Pick Pocket
  23. Honky Tonk Good Ole Gals and Hillbilly Bands
  24. I Let My Heart Do the Talking for Me
  25. Swingin' Side of Them Swingin' Doors
  26. I Woke Up With a Few
  27. Oklahoma Hills
  28. Wild Side of Life
  29. Green Light
  30. Old Time Fiddle Medley
  31. A Six Pack To Go

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Hank Thompson   Primary Artist

Technical Credits

Hank Thompson   Original Album Producer
Tommy Allsup   Original Album Producer
Joe Allison   Original Album Producer
Larry Butler   Original Album Producer
Jim Foglesong   Original Album Producer
Bill Inglot   Multi-Track Mix
Richard Weize   Tape Research
Ann Thompson   Illustrations
Ricci Mareno   Original Album Producer
Andreas Merck   Photo Scanning
Mychael Gerstenberger   Artwork
Peter Nichols   Original Album Producer
Joe Bob Barnhill   Original Album Producer
Sam Malbuch   Photo Restoration
Scott B. Bomar   Reissue Producer,Tape Research

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