Randall Hank "Bocephus" Williams served time early on for sins uncommitted. His father, the greatest country performer the world had ever known, rolled seven on the way to a gig, leaving his three year old son a dubious legacy to repair. Forced to perform at dog and pony shows, Little Hank lived in his father's shadow, trod in his father's footsteps and out-cliched every horrible cliche connected with vicariously living someone else's life before hitting puberty. With the help of stage mother Audrey, Junior charmed the nostalgia-crazed Nash Vegas hicks with his Hank Williams Mini-Me act. When he wasn't wailing about that lonesome ol' whistle, Junior recorded duets with Connie Francis and slogged through M-G-M's syrupy back catalog of misses and non-hits.
In the early seventies Junior finally broke away from the never ending Hank Sr. dark ride. One too many sorry ass Luke the Drifter, Jr. LPs had taken its toll on the weary singer and Randall was ready to change up horses. He fired his band and then fired his mother and started recording songs that didn't suck nearly as bad. He happily fit right in with the burgeoning outlaw country freaks that were dotting the musical landscape. Seeking inspiration in the boozy excesses of his old man, Hank partied like it was 1975 (it was), recorded more albums, grew a beard and then left it on the side of a mountain along with the rest of his face during a drunken camping trip. Resourceful surgeons created a new face with skin from his buttocks and Ol' Assface soldiered on.
After years of trolling in search of the elusive whatsit (and perhaps spurred on by his 600 foot tumble down Mt. Ajax), Bocephus recast himself as the go-to buffoon of Redneck Royalty--a dumb-ass Don Quixote whose various moronic misdeeds are still legendary in their scope. Hank cultivated a sexist, Everclear-swiggin', cocaine-snortin', hard-livin', a-ready-for-some-footballin', NASCAR-loving persona, working his hick shtick like a 90 foot Ray Stevens character come to life. Hank's latest nut-jobbed transgression centers on his intention to run for the U.S. Senate against Tennessee Republican incumbent Bob Corker in 2012.
Entrenched in decades of self-parody, Bocephus deposited over fifty long playing albums in almost as many years. Incredibly enough, in every decade he's recorded some amazing songs that rock out just the right way. How this happens I don't know--maybe it's the old monkey at a typewriter theory. More likely, it's some nugget of pure talent, sequestered deep within Junior like a cartoon hillbilly in an outhouse with a Sears catalog, only willing to pop his head out when he's dang blast ready to, dadgummit!
Somewhere else on this drunken Tuesday afternoon Hank Williams, Jr. is celebrating his 60th birthday and through the miracle of song and the internet you and me and all your lame-ass rowdy friends can get down with the self-aggrandizing country music genius of the past five decades. Happy Birthday Hank!