Live from Austin, TX '84

Live from Austin, TX '84

After a long, dark struggle with substance abuse, Waylon Jennings quit cocaine cold turkey in 1984, and he celebrated by appearing on Austin City Limits for the first time, in August of that year. The change in energy and focus is immediately apparent. Old songs like “Are You Ready for the Country” and “I Can Get Off On You” are taken tight and brisk. Bassist Jerry Bridges and drummer Dan Mustoe never lose their footing, while the interplay between guitarist Gary Scruggs and pedal steel player Ralph Mooney is kinetic. Rather than lose touch with the heartbreak that has fuelled some of his finest work, Waylon’s clean state of mind allowed him to hone in and heighten the emotion of “It’s Not Supposed to Be That Way,” “Dreaming My Dreams With You” and “Let’s Turn Back the Years.” However, the album is fuelled by the fast, rumbling rock ’n’ roll of “I Ain’t Living Long Like This” and “I May Be Used (But Baby I Ain’t Used Up).” The latter contains the aging Waylon’s new credo: “I've been wrecked a few times and honey it shows I guess…It ain't how you look, it's what you got under your hood.”

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