Jerry Jeff Walker - vocals, guitar; Barry Rambo - guitar; Reese Wynans - keyboards; Tomas Ramirez - saxophone; Dave Purdie - guitar; Freddy Kirk - drums; Ron Todd - bass
Jerry Jeff Walker is an American songsmith from Texas who has gained recognition as an innovative part of both the folk and country-rock scene. He is perhaps best known for his gentle ode to Black entertainer Bill Robinson, whom he immortalized in the song "Mr. Bojangles." This show was recorded for the Live at the Bottom Line radio concert series in December, 1978 and features Walker with a band that is comfortable playing both Western swing and straight up Texan rock 'n' roll.
Opening with "Jaded Lover," Walker performs five songs on this broadcast, including a 12 minute-plus version of "Hill Country Rain," which rocks as hard as anything the Allmans or Charlie Daniels ever did. Walker treads on some of Bruce Springsteen's musical territory when he performs his classic composition "Sangria Wine," a song that celebrates the joys of getting drunk with an old friend.
Walker was eager to record and tour with a full band during this period, but the band almost seems to overshadow the Texan singer/songwriter, who often has to strain his voice to get over the group. Regardless, his distinctive drawl is hot and flavorful as jalapeno peppers, and is a delight to hear when it does come through.
Walker was born in Upstate New York and moved to Greenwich Village in New York City in the late 1960s. He recorded two albums on Vanguard Records as part of a folk-rock band called Circus Maximus. After they disbanded in 1968, he signed to Atco Records but saw little commercial success. In 1970, he moved to Austin, Texas, where he found his true musical home. Along with Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash and others, he spearheaded the "outlaw" country music movement. It was also during this time that The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band had a Top 10 hit with their version of his song, "Mr. Bojangles."
Walker never had a huge hit on his own but did record a number of gold albums with his backing group, The Lost Gonzo Band. He named himself "The Gypsy Songman" and has remained a steady recording and touring act with a very loyal cult following.