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Whistling in the Dark

  1. Lonely Together
  2. Little Bird Has Flown
  3. Gotta Get Rid Of The Man
  4. What You Want?
  5. Nothing For You (But For Me)
  6. Moping To Mopping
  7. Ballad Of Bill Picket
  8. Told You So
  9. One Of Those Days
  10. Mr & Mrs Teardrops
  11. Jealousy
  12. Get What You Get
  13. Whistling In The Dark

 

Take a peep at some YouTube videos of early Hank Wangford Band here >>

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Reviews page

WHISTLING IN THE DARK
Sincere Records

buuy now

Country Music People

January 2009

star star star star star

Hank Wangford was one of the reasons I got into country music.  Before that, my exposure was mostly limited to the radio hits of Kenny and Dolly, and the Don Williams and Johnny Cash records in my dad’s collection.  I was already drawn to the story telling element on the genre.  But at densely packed gigs in small rooms like the Half Moon, Putney, Hank shot through with a punk and rock ‘n’ roll energy that was more electrifying that even the first albums of Dwight Yoakam and Steve Earle.

Some though he was taking the piss.  But his love and knowledge of the music was deep, as he proved with several top drawer and radio documentaries.

The problem, for me, came with some difficult transition years, when Hank tried to move away from the overtly novelty songs of his earlier years into more straight and grown up material.  For a while, it seemed to me as if he were losing the plot.

With Whistling In The Dark however, Wangford has emerged with a late night cigarettes‘n’whisky album of such maturity that it would be no great stretch to compare it the best of Cash’s later years.

There’s still plenty of humour as displayed in the in the word play of Moping To Mopping (“Up my tears”), but its much more understated and Natural.

The emotional authenticity of heartachers like Lonely Together, Gotta Get Rid Of That Man and One Of Those Days, meanwhile, is poured as smoothly and the finest scotch – chased down by the wallowing pedal steel guitar of BJ Cole.

Hank has always worn his left wing social conscience on his sleeve, and highlights include the narration Ballad Of Bill Pickett, about a cowboy who would have been up there with Tom Mix had he not been black and therefore “No Use To Hollywood”.

The surprising thing about the track is I always thought you needed a rich American rumble of an accent to pull off a country narration.  But Hank’s educated English tomes are so natural, they work perfectly.

Other goodies include the rare uptempo twanger, Jealousy – a stalker’s charter if ever there was one.

Speaking of which, the album ends on a chilling note with the Jimmie Rodgers style title track.  A murder ballad in five lines, the song lasts just a minute and a half, but packs more of a punch than many artists do in a lifetime.

Douglas McPherson

Maverick

November 2008

star star star star

Classic country sounds from the UK’s finest

Well known to all UK country music enthusiasts for many years, Hank Wangford aka Dr. Sam Hutt, is an enthusiast of and an evangelist for genuine country music.  Simple songs, simple but powerful sentiments, sung sincerely, these are his stock in trade and in many respects he’s as close to Hank Williams as the UK is ever likely to get.  His latest album sees him backed by the Lost Cowboys, who are 80% of Los Pistoleros and feature the mighty BJ Cole on pedal steel and Martin Belmont on guitar, on a set of songs that is largely downbeat and dark.

‘Let’s be lonely together tonight’/ let’s talk about misery alright’ he sings on the opening track, and this very much sets the tone for tales of betrayal, love gone wrong and failure.  Wangford always finds a spark of hope though, a possibility of redemption which rises from the sweet drenching of BJ Cole’s singing steel. He also varies the tone by offering a history lesson with the story of Bill Pickett, the first great American cowboy, whose misfortune it was to be born black (‘ain’t no use to Hollywood’) as well as several classic weepies with classic titles, Mopin’ to Moppin’ the best of them.

Throughout the band swing like the uber-outfit they are and Wangford’s light, low, sometimes semi-spoken vocals rise and fall over them like the rolling hills of Dakota and the listener is transported back half a century or more to the time of classic country sounds crackling across the ether.  Wangford has a well-deserved reputation as a humorist and consequently his music hasn’t always been taken as seriously as it deserves.  He is though, and has been for many years, the best British pure country music musician out there and WHISTLING IN THE DARK provides further evidence to back up that claim. 

Q Magazine

January 2009

star star star

Hank has been walking a dark country line for more than two decades, his mission to convert non-believers to the country cause.  The tracks on his 11th album are among the most mainstream of his career, especially the haunting what you want?

 

Guardian

21st November  2008

star star star

Dr Sam Hutt, better known in country circles as his tragic alter ego Hank Wangford, is one of the great English originals. A doctor who specialised in drug addiction and then gynaecology and birth control, he became obsessed with country after meeting the legendary Gram Parsons, and became a cult celebrity in the punk era of the early 80s. He specialised in deadpan humour but also classy musicianship, and his early band included Britain's finest pedal steel player BJ Cole (then known as Manly Footwear) who has gone on to work with everyone from Björk to REM and Devon Sproule. Cole is reunited with Wangford on this new set, which also includes guitarist Martin Belmont, Reg Meuross and folk heroine Vashti. The songs are mostly tuneful, no-nonsense weepies that are as straightforward as their titles, from Lonely Together to Gotta Get Rid of That Man or the Johnny Cash-influenced Mr and Mrs Teardrops, and there's a burst of country protest and history in the Ballad of Bill Pickett, the true story of an early rodeo star who "ain't no use to Hollywood" because he was black. It's a classily performed set that justifies Wangford's reputation as the troubled elder statesman of English alt.country.

 

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