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Customer reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Hanky Panky
Format: Audio CD|Change
Price:£14.84+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime

on 16 August 2017
Happy customer.
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on 13 December 2002
When you do an album of cover versions of one of the finest artists that have ever lived, you've got to be a competent performer to pull it off. Especially when the songs chosen are, largely, not the most common of the chosen artists repetoire.
Matt Johnson does the business here, though. It is pointless reviewing each track individually because the strength of this album is in its whole. The The were (are?) a great band anyway but this took them one step further in my estimation. Johnsons interpretations are personal, gentle and tragic. They don't sound like the originals but they don't lose anything in the transformation. Like Hank himself, Matt Johnson sings from the bottom of his heart and it shows.
This is the finest collection of covers of any artist that I have ever heard. Magnificent.
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on 20 October 2012
If you ask anyone, even a fan, to name three The The albums I'm sure that this one would't crop up. That's a real shame as it is a great combination of Hank Williams sparse lyrics and the oppressive, powerful sound of Matt Johnson's band.

Lyrics are delivered with menace and passion and the countrified The The sound works really well - it shouldn't work but it really does.

This was supposed to be one of a series where Matt took the lyrics of great song writers and added his unique sound but alas it still stands alone as the only one in the series.

Check it out if you care to, you may be pleasantly surprised.
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on 16 March 2001
It is true that Matt Johnson offers some startlingly original interpretations of Hank Williams songs on Hanky Panky -- he makes them sound like The The songs. Most of the songs pulse to an electronic beat and the atmosphere is thick with foreboding doom, Awesome!
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 2 April 2014
Which might have been the reaction when this was released back in 1995. The The or rather, Matt Johnson, since the band was effectively little more than his vision, had shown little interest in cover versions before and dyed-in-the-wool country music was not exactly the band's metier. However Johnson had acknowledged an interest in US weirdo band, the Residents, from early in his career, and the Residents had devoted the best part of half an album to Hank's songs in 1986. Arguably though, Johnson's interest in Hank was somewhat deeper than that of his US idols - at least half the songs here are going to be unfamiliar to anyone other than the devoted Williams fan.

Straight from the first few bars of the very first number, "Honky tonkin'", it's evident we're in the hands of someone who's going to give us real, and original, interpretations rather than slavish copies. Pedal steel yes, but electronica as well, plus a voice that may have the world weariness of the Townes Van Zandt version of the song but also has a much more ominous quality alongside. And it's that ominous sound that pervades much of this album. While Hank was no stranger to doom and gloom - "I heard you crying in your sleep", 'Neath a Cold Gray Tomb of Stone", "I lost the only love I knew" and "Alone and forsaken" were typical titles - he was also prone to balancing this with songs of optimism and/or redemption at the hands of the Lord. Perhaps the most famous of the latter in Hank's oeuvre is "I saw the light", a jogalong almost good-time chorus type song in the original interpretation. The version in this album, however, has echoes of blues and echo-chambered rockabilly present resulting in a performance which, maybe, brings to the forefront some of the fire and brimstone which was always present in the lyrics.

I certainly don't see the tone of foreboding that pervades much of this album as being one that was there in anything like the same degree in Hank's originals. But there's certainly validity here even if it's to what Johnson sees in the songs as opposed to the Williams vision.

Unlike most, maybe all, of the other Amazon reviewers I didn't come at this album via The The. Rather, I was researching cover versions of Hank's songs and stumbled across this treasure trove. I freely confess to not having bought the set but I'm sorely tempted. In my eyes it could well be in the top ten of best covers albums of all time. Rarely do you get someone with so determined a vision interpreting / attacking / caressing someone else's songs across an entire album. And even more rarely does it succeed to this extent.
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on 11 March 2015
I am a big fan of The The ever since I bought the 7 inch version of Uncertain Smile. I finally got round to buying this, and I am pleased that the trademark sound is in here together with the unique blend of Hank songs. Matt Johnson certainly rips through the repertoire and makes the songs his own, keppeing the pace of the album about right between the rockier numbers and the gentler songs. If you are a fan of The The you will like it.
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on 19 April 2013
A slight change of tack for Mr Johnston , but still as brilliant as ever !
The The , The original one man band which morphed into a semi super group for a couple of albums Mind Bomb & Dusk. Also checkout Soul Mining & Infected to get the complete The The experience !!!
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on 4 September 2010
Matt Johnson is one of the best (and most underrated) musicians ever to grace the UK, whatever he does is pure gold.

A masterful, mature interpretation of Hank Williams' musical poetry.
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on 20 April 2007
Faultless. No formulaic pop ditty's here.

I love The The, so I'm a little bit biased.

No-brainer purchase.
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on 7 January 2012
I'm a fan of The The and was drawn to this album by the single "I saw the light". This is a cracking cover and its tinged with The Thes trademark sound. But the rest of the album, to me, is incomparable. Yes it does sound like The The throughout but the songs, I feel, could have been made pacier and have had more blues guitar thrown in. Quite a few of the songs are fairly slow and as people have noted - have a sense of doom. Judging from the other reviews I'm in a minority here but its nowhere as good as his other albums.
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