Hank Williams Jr. Explains ‘Rich White Honky Blues’ Album Title
Hank Williams Jr. says it was nothing but love that inspired the title of his new album, Rich White Honky Blues. Love, and a popular 1970s NBC sitcom.
Rich White Honky Blues (June 17) is a collection of blues covers, most of them recorded in a single take with producer Dan Auerbach (the Black Keys) and a legendary band of blues musicians.
There are three original songs that Williams Jr. tells Taste of Country he had no trouble writing for the project: "S--t, no. I am a Williams, you know?"
Songs from Lightnin' Hopkins, R.L. Burnside, Muddy Waters and more form the core of the album, and while some themes and lyrics would certainly surprise country fans today — ".44 Special Blues," for example, is about shooting an unfaithful woman — the man who goes by Thunderhead Hawkins when he's singing the blues says the songs definitely hold the test of time.
"The hell they won't," Williams says with an icy glare. "You say, 'I can't help it if I'm still in love with you'? That's forever. You say, 'You better get some insurance on my baby'? That's forever. 'Georgia women, shake 'em on down'? That's forever. My a-- culture s--t. Good music is good music. That's one of the greatest things in here. There's no political s--t, zero! None! Thunderhead don't sing about political s--t. Don't give a s--t about it. This ain't Hank Jr., this is Thunderhead Hawkins, brother."
The full Taste of Country Nights, On Demand interview with Hank Jr. can be found below (or anywhere great podcasts are found).
As for what inspired the album name? Williams flatly credits actor and comedian Redd Foxx, whom he refers to as Redd Sanford as a sort of hat tip to his most famous role (as Fred Sanford) in the sitcom Sanford and Sons. The two men met in Las Vegas one time. Williams says he was only a teenager.
"He sat down at the table and he started telling my mother how he knew and loved all of daddy's songs and his mother had them all," the country icon, now 73, tells host Evan Paul. "It just blew my mind ... It's something I never forgot and then when I wrote this song I thought about him on that show and, (impersonating) 'Lamont! Why you hanging out with all those old rich white honkies for?'"
"That's exactly where it came from, folks. It's love. It ain't nothing but pure love."
Highlights — including an unbelievable Johnny Cash story — and more from Willliams' interview can be found in the video above.