Few artists can use songs that reference them as their intro music. Fewer still would have the nerve to do it.
But there’s one — Rockin’ Randall Hank Williams.
And Bocephus and his seven-piece band lived up to that billing Friday at Pinewood Bowl.
In fine form from the jump, Williams rocked into “Are You Ready for the Country,” hit the twangy road song “O.D.’d in Denver” and, a couple songs later, delivered a Muscle Shoals rock ‘n’ roll version of “Move It On Over,” ending with the declaration that his father Hank Williams was “the rockabilly king.”
That was the first of the cascade of songs that Hank Sr. either wrote or directly refer to him.
“My childhood was not a real normal childhood,” Williams said, telling a story about going on the road with his dad, before taking the piano for the rolling New Orleans Fats Domino arrangement of “Your Cheatin’ Heart,” segueing into the Jerry Lee Lewis pumpin’ piano killer.
But none of the other songs were exactly the way Sr. had done them, either — even with Jr. pulling out the fiddle on “Kaw-Liga” that was half bluesy stomp.
That’s because Hank Jr. is either the country end of Southern rock or the Southern rock end of 70’s outlaw country.
Along the way, Williams delivered his belligerent assault on “The United Socialist States of America,” “Keep the Change” and did the first verse of “All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Over Tonight.” Monday Night Football-style.
“This isn’t my first rodeo in these parts,” Williams said. “I bought my first two jets in Lincoln, Nebraska, ladies and gentlemen.”
That was the intro for a seven-song medley done by Williams solo on acoustic guitar, capped with a full political take on “A Country Boy Can Survive.”
That started the hit-packed run to the finish that fully stirred up the 3,000 who turned up on what turned out to be a very pleasant night in the park.