This felicitous tribute album celebrates the long career of the folksy Nashville singer-songwriter with the help of an impressive array of guest stars. Vince Gill, for instance, joins the old-timer, now 72, on the raucous Thompson hit "Six Pack to Go." Lyle Lovett insinuates himself into Thompson's clever "Total Stranger," and "I Picked a San Antonio Rose" benefits from the vocal of Bekka Bramlett, daughter of the '70s rock duo Delaney and Bonnie.
But the real highlights involve older stars. On "Hey George, Hey Hank," Thompson sings, "Can you sing about drinking, heartaches and misery?" and George Jones answers, "There ain't nobody, Hank, who knows it any better than me." And Thompson reprises his old hit "The Wild Side of Life/It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels," shrewdly inviting Tanya Tucker to join Kitty Wells, whose original version of "Angels" remains a Nashville classic. The package generates two immediate reactions: "They don't make 'em like Hank any more" and "Too bad." (Curb)