Jerry Jeff Walker - vocals, guitar; Barry Ramble - guitar; Reese Widner - keyboards; Tomas Ramirez - saxophone; Dave Purdie - guitar; Freddy Kirk - drums; Ron Todd - bass
This is a shorter version of the nearly two-hour set recorded earlier the same evening at New York's Bottom Line for broadcast on the King Biscuit Flower Hour. Walker, who had returned to his hometown of Manhattan for a series of shows in December of 1978, played this mini-set comprised of excerpts from the lengthier show, with one notable exception: "Pissin' in the Wind." That song, originally released on Walker's 1975 album, Ridin' High, has classic come-what-may lyrics: "Oh Pissin' in the wind, Bettin' on a losing friend / making the same mistakes we sore we'd never make again."
As the song moves along as a country shuffle, it suddenly stops and transitions into a funky bass-and-drum break. It changes the whole vibe of the song and just when the listener gets used to the new groove it slides back into the country feel. What might seem confusing for any other musical artist is just business as usual for Jerry Jeff Walker, and that is what his fans love about him.
Jerry Jeff Walker is an American songsmith from Texas that has gained recognition as an innovative part of both the folk and country-rock scenes. He is perhaps best known for the widely-covered song "Mr. Bojangles." While the song is widely thought to be an ode to Harlem dancer Bill Robinson, many argue that Walker was writing about a drunken street performer in New Orleans. This show was recorded live at the Bottom Line in December, 1978, and features Walker with a band that is comfortable playing everything from Western swing to straight-up Texan rock 'n' roll.
Walker was born in upstate New York and moved to New York City's Greenwich Village in the mid-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 enjoyed a top-10 hit with their version of his song, "Mr. Bojangles."
Walker never recorded a huge hit himself, but he 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.