While writer types seldom give him credit for it, Hank Williams Jr.'s contribution to modern country music can hardly be overstated, as he built the previously non-existent link between George Jones a

While writer types seldom give him credit for it, Hank Williams Jr.'s contribution to modern country music can hardly be overstated, as he built the previously non-existent link between George Jones and Lynyrd Skynyrd that is taken for granted (and generally watered down) today. Like most tributes, Bocephus is a mixed bag, but the highs far outweigh the lows. Montgomery Gentry bring barroom swagger to "Women I Never Had"; Tracy Lawrence injects "Outlaw Women" with surprising edge; Skynyrd's "Born to Boogie" is a roiling triumph; Dan Baird's "Whiskey Bent & Hell Bound" staggers and lurches; and Alan Jackson turns the tender "The Blues Man" into a superb tip of the hat. On the downside, an artistically overcrowded "Outlaw's Reward" pales in comparison to the brilliant original, and the Marshall Tucker Band's "All My Rowdy Friends Have Settled Down" is a mess. But a brace of ballads—Dusty Drake's "Heaven Can't Be Found" and Trace Adkins' "Eleven Roses"—are the stuff country dreams are made of.—RW

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