‘I Dreamed That The Great Judgement Morning’ is a beautiful treasure of Hank Williams’ ability as an accomplished professional vocalist.
The notes to The Unreleased Recordings three CD set say it is the longest recording of Hank Williams there is. It clocks in at about five minutes. The exact figure is 5:25.
The outstanding thing about this track is the control Hank exhibits from beginning to end. The old hymn is a straight verse piled on verse. There is a chorus but no sense of a break or bridge to give a feeling of variety. There is no musical break by the Drifting Cowboys during the entire performance. I can’t think of too many examples of Hank showing such power over a listener’s attention.
Hank’s singing style is not only controlled, but he sings in a softer gentler range, a bit lower than usual and with a openness and depth. The recording at WSM is deeper and fuller than the MGM recordings at Castle Studio. I wish somebody could explain this. I have read somewhere that Eddy Arnold, for example, recorded at Castle in those days and certainly achieved a full rich tone.
But the real power of this recording is how it highlights the whole Hank Williams package minus the humor rock and roll of course! There is absolute commitment to the song, total concentration and control, and unbelievable sincerity.
It doesn’t matter if you are a fundamentalist, evangelical, liberal, Catholic, agnostic, or atheist, in this performance, Hank has you in the palm of his hand, suspending critical judgement and disbelief, for five minutes and twenty five seconds you won’t forget.