Waylon was an 'Outlaw'. No, not like the Jesse James variety, but really more of a 'rebel' when it came to his thoughts on Country Music, and in fact towards the end of his career he was to join a group of aging fellow superstars who played the circuit as 'The Highwaymen' -- Messrs. Cash, Nelson and Kristofferson, they too being fellow 'Outlaws' to the system. Long before this, back in the late 50s, he was considered good enough a guitar player to tour with Buddy Holly in that ill-fated Winter Dance Party. Holly had split with the Crickets, and wanted to concentrate more on his singing, so Waylon became lead guitarist in Buddy's backing group for that tour which was to claim Buddy's life. Waylon might have died too, only he drew the longer straw and didn't win a seat on the plane. Waylon was one of the creators of 'Rock Country', a style with which he had hits, but by the early 70s, the so-called 'Nashville Sound', created by the likes of producer Chet Atkins, was running aground. Waylon had signed up with RCA and began to buck the norm by insisting that HE wanted to choose which songs to record (yes, he was a great lyric writer too and he didn't want his work left on the cutting room floor), select the musicians HIMSELF, and even be his OWN producer. The executives eventually caved in and he got his way, along with others who had similar thoughts by saying 'Up yours' to the A&R men -- hence the term 'Outlaw'. This great album represents the first (and possibly only) example of such work -- creative in both words and music, with the Jennings' guitar sound breaking through quite wonderfully all the time. In this re-issue by BMG, they've added three tracks which were never released ... possibly because Chet Atkins DID have a say in the end and decided they should be left out. It's real ground breaking stuff, and Waylon proved his point because it sold well and this led the way to a revival of Country Music as a whole. Just buy it!
I have come to Waylon via Springsteen, Petty, Browne and Americana/Alt Country, so it has taken a long time for him to pop up on my radar. I now have a large number of his albums, most of which are, well, OK.....but THIS ONE!!!! This would be a desert island record for me just for the purity and strength of his voice alone. A much, much better singer than Elvis, in my opinion. Excellent songs and arrangements, except for this version of Me and Bobby McGee which has dated rather badly. Still, full marks to Waylon for including it...Kristofferson wasn't well known at that point and it was an act of rebellion ( best to google the significance of this record in the Outlaw genre and it's creation) to include it. A wonderful, wonderful record. Incidentally, Sandy is a stone bitch!!