Jerry Jeff Walker - vocals, guitar; Ron Cobb - bass; Reese Wynans - keyboards; Tomas Ramirez - sax; Michael Hardwick - guitar, banjo, pedal steel; Michael Clark - drums
This show, the second of two taped on August 19, 1982, is considerably different from the early show, and is one of five radio broadcast performances captured at New York's Bottom Line club between 1978 and 1982 by singer/songwriter Jerry Jeff Walker. Originally aired on the Silver Eagle Cross Country concert series, Walker was about as far from traditional country music as an artist could be, and still be considered a country act. Walker has always sat on the "folk" and "blues" side of the fence, but his down home Americana songs made him also appealing to country audiences, especially those subscribing to the Outlaw persona that Jennings, Haggard, Cash, and Nelson built their careers around. That's why it's no surprise one of his best received songs is the Outlaw-standard, "Up Against Wall, Red Neck Mothers."
Walker also appears more relaxed and seems to be having a great time, leading his band through the set that includes "Gettin' By," "Desperados Waiting For A Train," "Dealin' With The Devil," and a poignant rendition of his classic song, "Mr. Bojangles," Walker's ode to Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, the African-American character actor and dancer, best known for his appearance in Shirley Temple films.
He presents a series of songs that are essentially autobiographical, including "Pissin' In The Wind," "Takin' It As It Comes," "Layin' My Life On The Line," ending with "Still Around," which pretty much sums it up when it comes to Walker and his career. Another highlight comes in the way of two great covers: Frankie Ford's 1959 pop gem, "Sea Cruise" and a memorable re-make of "Will The Circle Be Unbroken."
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 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 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.