Waylon Jennings.jpg

Heard: Waylon Jennings' Honky Tonk Heroes

When: Right now

Where: My office.

Thoughts: "So, it's so long Californee/ reckon I'll be a-movin' on/ I'm leavin'

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I Heard This: Waylon Jennings' Honky Tonk Heroes

A Modern Cowboy Classic.

Waylon Jennings.jpg

Heard: Waylon Jennings' Honky Tonk Heroes

When: Right now

Where: My office.

Thoughts: "So, it's so long Californee/ reckon I'll be a-movin' on/ I'm leavin' even if I have to crawl." So sings Waylon Jennings in "Omaha", one of the definitive numbers in the outlaw country songbook. What's more outlaw than a song about an ol' boy leavin' his hometown of Omaha, hitchin' rides to Californee, gettin' work in the Bay Area, gettin' tossed in jail for sumpin', and headin' back to Omaha with his tail between his legs? Easily one of the finest story-songs ever written...and the sonofabitch is only 2 minutes, 30 seconds long. It's the keystone track of Jennings' Honky Tonk Heroes LP, his 1973 masterpiece. With the exception of closing track "We Had It All", the record is all covers of Billy Joe Shaver songs. Shaver is a remarkable writer, and when his bare-bones, road-weary lyrics are delivered by Jennings, they reveal remarkable shades. He lends a jazz-like flavor to the title track, and his take on "Old Five and Dimers (Like Me)" is both romantic, humorous, sad, and self-pitying. With "Low Down Freedom" and "Ride Me Down Easy" he paints a gorgeous landscape of the pre-Wal-Mart American highway, dusty and desolate. It's a modern-day cowboy record, and it could be argued that, besides Willie Nelson's Red Headed Stranger, nobody made a better one. Hell, Jennings himself couldn't even top it.

 
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