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1. HEALTH AND HAPPINESS's contents were more complete and
satisfying, but their sound quality was annoying and irritating. Mercury Records did not use noise reduction on HEALTH, perhaps hoping to appeal to old-time radio buffs. The retained popping and crackling of the original acetates certainly did not appeal to ME! PRODIGAL's content is very abridged (more of the HEALTH AND HAPPINESS chitchat should have been retained), but its sound quality is superb. THE PRODIGAL SON utilizes amazing noise reduction techniques, and it is a delight to listen to.
2. This CD is certainly worth owning but can be purchased in a more affordable British version entitled LOST HIGHWAY (Delta, 2000). Still, if you can find PRODIGAL SON at a good price, get it.
3. Finally, the lead vocal is prophetic. Hank's music was basically either Saturday night honky tonk or Sunday morning religious. Cynics suggest that, in his bizarre lifestyle and death, Saturday night won out. Here, Hank sings of himself as the prodigal son who will eventually find spiritual justification in his own death:
"The prodigal son [Hank] once strayed from his father
to travel a land of...pain.
Now I [Hank, the prodigal son] can see the end of my
journey [my death], I'm going to heaven again.
Goodbye to the world with all it's sorrows, goodbye to the
fields that I used to roam."
In conclusion, if you can pick up this CD, or a similar version, at a good price, do so.