Tom T. Hall '50 Greatest Hits' Humphead

This collection delivers just what it says in it's title. 50 songs on two CDs of classic country story telling. The booklet reproduces all the lyrics so as well as listening you can read the lines of a master songwriter and storyteller who was no slouch as a singer either. He delivered well observed chapters in the lives of ordinary Americans. Living in small towns or big cities. He emphasized with them, never made fun of them but often did so with good humour. The melodies were all good and delivered with zest and solid country styled backings that make this an ideal collection for newcomers and old hand alike.  His songs also sometimes crossed over to the pop charts and one of his best know songs was Harper Valley PTA, made famous by Jeannie C. Riley. It's not included here but classic songs like The Year That Clayton Delaney Died, Old Dogs, Children and Watermelon Wine are. He is a classic writer, like Guy Clark, who can tell a story in deceptively simple lines that manage to say a lot more that is actually written. His status was further underlined at the end of the 90's when Real a tribute album featuring the likes of Calexico and Johnny Cash was released/ The latter was a fan and appears here in a duet on The Last Of The Drifters. But the star here is Hall, his singing and songwriting are those of a man who truly knew how to deliver a tale or two in the most simple but memorable way. Many of today's writers can still learn a lot from Tom T. Hall.