Waylon Jennings - vocals, guitars, banjo; Ralph Mooney - pedal steel guitar; Gordon Payne - lead guitar; Rance Wasson - guitars; Barny Robertson - keyboards; Jerry Bridges - bass; Richie Albright - drums
This robust show was recorded during what many feel was one of Waylon Jennings' most fertile musical periods. Jennings, who was married to singer Jessi Colter and also a part of the Outlaw Country supergroup Highwaymen—which also included Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson at the time—was riding high on a successful RCA records release entitled, Waylon and Company.
Recorded for the Silver Eagle Cross Country Radio Show in Albany, NY, the show features a wealth of Jennings gems, including his version of JJ Cale's "Clyde," Bob McDill's "Amanda," and the short but effective, "Only Daddy That'll Walk The Line," originally written by Ivy J. and Jimmy Bryant.
His swampy country-blues re-take on the Al Collins/Little Richard rock classic, "Lucille (You Won't Do Your Daddy's Will)," would go on to be a country hit for Jennings some months later. Some of the most popular Jennings hits are missing (most notably, "Mama Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys"), but he delivers a feisty version of "Good Ol' Boys (Theme From The Dukes Of Hazard)," and a number of songs that feature a guest appearance from Colter.
With a career that lasted half a century and spawned no less than 16 number one singles, few artists have had as important an impact on modern country music as Waylon Jennings. Born in Littlefield, Texas, Jennings dropped out of high school to become a DJ at the age of 15. He moved to Lubbock and became close friends with Buddy Holly, who was also his musical mentor. Holly taught Jennings how to play guitar and bass, and encouraged him to become a writer and singer. Jennings left radio to record for Brunswick Records in 1957, with his first record produced by Holly himself. When Holly needed a new bass player for the Crickets in 1959, he called Jennings, who took the gig. On February 3rd, Jennings gave up his seat on a small private plane that was scheduled to carry himself, Holly, and Ritchie Valens to the next gig. The other star on the tour, the Big Bopper, had the flu, so Jennings infamously let him take his seat on the four-seater plane, which ended up crashing and tragically killing all three stars.
Jennings re-emerged in the 1960s as a country star with the help of Chet Atkins, who signed him to RCA Records, where he would remain for over a decade. He relocated to Nashville during an era of rather strict corporate policies, but determined to have his creative freedom, he began broadening the scope of country music by embracing elements of rock music and using his road band in the studio, both highly discouraged practices in Nashville at the time. This rebellion against Nashville corporate traditions and production formulas (in addition to his well publicized embracement of illegal substances and battles with addiction) became a critical aspect in the development of his "outlaw country" persona. It was Jennings' determination to have complete artistic freedom that was also embraced by friends and musical collaborators such as Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson, and Merle Haggard that established the "outlaw country" genre. In time this would have a profound impact on subsequent generations of country songwriters and musicians, creating a new blueprint for much of modern country today.