You know that I know …

I’m getting great pleasure from listening to The Lost Notebooks of Hank Williams.

If you don’t yet know about this CD, the previously unpublished lyrics are from four notebooks found in Hank Williams’ car after his death, and recently set to music by the various musicians who sing on the album. The collection has been curated (a term that’s now used for everything from cake recipes to toolboxes, but in this case I think it’s the right one) by Bob Dylan, who invited eleven other rock and country stars to contribute. Norah Jones, Alan Jackson, Lucinda Williams and Bob Dylan are my favourites so far – but for me, the absolute standout is Jack White singing ‘You know that I know.’

White’s interpretation of the song is glorious. He’s been criticised for introducing a kind of quaver to his voice but I think it works brilliantly; it’s a very Hank kind of sound that complements the very Hank kind of lyrics: from heartbreak to honky-tonk, all in one song.

You know that I know
That you ain’t no good
And you wouldn’t tell the truth
Even if you could
Lying is a habit
You practise wherever you go
And you may fool the rest of the world
But you know that I know …

And I’m a sucker for this bit – it’s the beautifully judged use of ‘correctly’ that so charms me:

And if you recall correctly
I’m the guy that brought you to town

It’s a bluesy sound with a bluesy beat, and I don’t even object to the electric guitars. Thanks, Jack. Nice one. I can’t help thinking that Hank Williams would be impressed. Wouldn’t you, Hank, huh?

3 Responses to “You know that I know …”

  1. JES Says:

    Thanks. I’m getting into the album, too, and Jack White’s is (so far) the only one I’ve listened to several times. (I’m very happy to see Jakob Dylan in the crowd, but gotta say that his contribution sets my teeth jangling.)

    I don’t suppose you’ve done a complete transcription of “You Know that I Know,” have you? I’m hearing-impaired and have a really hard time picking out some words and phrases from JW’s sly, reedy vocal. Working on a blog post about it now and would love to have a transcription to work with (with attribution and pointing readers here, of course).

  2. admin Says:

    I haven’t done a full transcription but I’ll try in the next few days, and send it to you if I’m successful.

  3. Midweek Music Break: Jack White, “You Know That I Know” Says:

    [...] of children’s author and music aficionado Brenda Hollyer; read her own post about the song here): You Know That I Know (Hank Williams/Jack [...]

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