You don’t need me to tell you that Hank Williams was a titan of American popular music, an ace songwriter whose music was equally influential for rock ‘n’ roll and country.
And in fact, his first big single, “Move it On Over,” is clearly one of those songs that was rock ‘n’ roll before anybody had coined that phrase.
Of course, I heard this song via George Thorogood, via Rock 96 FM, the weird FM station that had arisen in Fresno in the 1970s, and probably didn’t even know it was a Hank Williams song until I found it later on the utterly indispensable 40 Greatest Hits.
His first Billboard chart single, “Move it On Over” features an unstoppable rhythm section and hot guitar leads leaping from the mix. All of this threatens to overshadow the clever lyric about a man who is literally in the dog house.
She’s changed the lock on my front door
My door key don’t fit no more
So get it on over (Move it on over)
Scoot it on over (Move it on over)
Move over skinny dog ’cause the fat dog’s moving in
A story song that doesn’t really feature a chorus, “Move it On Over” lives and dies on the call-and-response in every verse, where Williams’ twang contrasts nicely with the far more polished harmonies of his backing band. It’s a neat combination of utter rawness and sheer professionalism.
As the song progresses, Williams confesses to the sins that got him in this position, and even as he declares that she’s gonna take him back, you can tell that’s just false bravado, and the dogs might wanna look for a new place to live.
“Move It On Over”
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