April 22, 2009
I’ll confess that when I read the title of this song, “Red, White and Pink Slip Blues”, I mentally groaned. But alas, Kevin assigned the single to me and like a dutiful blogger, I clicked on the link anyway.
Hank Williams Jr., though inarguably talented, is often known for his swagger that, sometimes, overshadows the quality of his art. So, a song that quite obviously covers the theme of economic hard times that this country, and the world, is currently facing could easily seem like an opportunistic ploy to capitalize on the nation’s vulnerability, as seems to have been the problem with other recent songs of this nature. As a result, I was all but certain that a song with this title would be more frivolous than cathartic.
Instead, ol’ Hank comes through with a song that aptly captures the story of so many Americans at this frightening time. From the first person perspective, he tells of a man who’s tried to do everything right, but still finds himself jobless and unable to even afford survival. He desperately sings:
“I hide the pickup truck
In Ricky Brown’s garage,
‘Cause there’s a repo man to dodge.
Slip out the back door,
Lord, I never thought I’
d live to see this day.
We’re going to need that truck
When they come to take the house away.”
His delivery appropriately reflects desperation and frustration, while the story he tells has become sadly realistic for all too many people as of late. Moreover, with the mood set by both the bluesy/swampy melodic structure and Hank’s heartfelt delivery, the song conveys sensitivity and conviction, which is surely imperative in a song such as this.