Waylon Jennings – Ol’ Waylon (RCA PL 12317) (1977) and Waylon & Willie (RCA AFL1-2686) (1978)

The painting on the right can also be purchased as a limited edition plate suitable for wall-mounting and Greek weddings.

These two Chip Moman produced, songwriting showcase records, picked up at a temporary-looking store-front junk shop in Rye, loom large in my childhood. His long-haired, marijuana indulging redneck ways were philosophically influential in my neck of the woods. I even saw Waylon in concert at a small arena gig in Kentucky in 1980–fabulous show–with people who had an Ol’ Waylon bumper stick plastered on their bathroom mirror.Waylon’s probably best known in this country for his Dukes of Hazzard theme, but he only got that gig because of albums like this. Famously, Jennings was also Buddy Holly’s airplane-avoiding bass player, so his credentials stretch back quite a ways before he (and Willie Nelson and Tompall Glasser) hit on their “outlaw” wheeze, whereby they could remain country artists while performing Neil Young and Fleetwood Mac songs. The sound here is clean with only the electric guitars slightly phased, “Eat shit”-style bass (e.g. 2/4 time notes alternating on the root and lower fifth) abounds. Jennings, in fact, is no great shakes as a singer, but his presence sells the songs and blends well Willie’s downhome nasal croon. Of course, at this point in history it’s hard to see any musical or philosophical difference between the “outlaw” country music of Jennings, et. al. and the slightly defensive/God-fearing/footloose/country singer hero who resignedly celebrated his flaws of  generations previous, but back in the day, the choice of covers, the length of one’s hair and the amount of dope one smoked were important points of cultural division. By the 80s and 90s, the “outlaw” movement and its absorption of pop and rock moves had hardened into pose; the “New Traditionalist” movement sought redress this.Favorite line: “Take back the weed/take back the cocaine, baby/I can get off on you.”

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Published in: on December 14, 2011 at 9:11 am  Leave a Comment  

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