Viva Terlingua (Live)
Luckenbach was an abandoned Texas ghost town when eccentric rancher Hondo Crouch purchased it wholesale for $3000 in 1970. His first order of business was to reopen the local dance hall, which soon became a hangout for Jerry Jeff Walker and his coterie of Austin musicians. The Luckenbach Dancehall was the site of Walker’s biggest artistic and commercial triumph, 1973’s Viva Terlingua, which was recorded there on August 18, 1973. Walker and his pals aimed to invest country with the wild abandon of rock ‘n’ roll, while also maintaining respect for excellence in songcraft. “Gettin’ By,” “Get It Out” and “Sangria Wine” belong equally to hippies, truckers and cowboys. Despite his mischievous streak, Walker also sang moving versions of Guy Clark’s “Desperados Waiting for the Train” and Michael Martin Murphey’s “Backslider’s Wine.” The album’s signature performance is “Up Against the Wall, Red Neck,” a satire of hillbilly stereotypes embraced by both the cowboys and the counterculture. Jerry Jeff was perhaps the only performer capable of laughing at both simultaneously without the other knowing.