11 Songs, 35 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

By 1977 Waylon Jennings was a grizzled elder statesmen — he had won equal recognition in the realms of rock and country, and virtually founded Outlaw, the movement that united those two worlds. Ol’ Waylon shows that Jennings had become his own genre. Certainly the songs here aren’t country in the traditional sense. “If You See Me Getting Smaller,” “Belle of the Ball” and “Till I Gain Control Again” pursue a brand of low-glow barroom balladry patented by Waylon. On the other hand, “Lucille,” “This Is Getting Funny (But There Ain’t Nobody Laughing)” and the singer’s “Medley of Elvis Hits” are galloping dancers, more rock ’n’ roll than country. Both sides come together on Waylon’s cover of “Sweet Caroline,” in which the able-voiced outlaw turns Neil Diamond’s sunny pop hit into a windswept roadhouse waltz. The album’s centerpiece is the steady-rolling ballad “Luckenbach, Texas (Back to the Basics of Love),” which features Willie Nelson and presages the pair’s impending full-length collaboration. More importantly, the song shows that Waylon could sing a sentimental song without making it sugary — a rare ability.

EDITORS’ NOTES

By 1977 Waylon Jennings was a grizzled elder statesmen — he had won equal recognition in the realms of rock and country, and virtually founded Outlaw, the movement that united those two worlds. Ol’ Waylon shows that Jennings had become his own genre. Certainly the songs here aren’t country in the traditional sense. “If You See Me Getting Smaller,” “Belle of the Ball” and “Till I Gain Control Again” pursue a brand of low-glow barroom balladry patented by Waylon. On the other hand, “Lucille,” “This Is Getting Funny (But There Ain’t Nobody Laughing)” and the singer’s “Medley of Elvis Hits” are galloping dancers, more rock ’n’ roll than country. Both sides come together on Waylon’s cover of “Sweet Caroline,” in which the able-voiced outlaw turns Neil Diamond’s sunny pop hit into a windswept roadhouse waltz. The album’s centerpiece is the steady-rolling ballad “Luckenbach, Texas (Back to the Basics of Love),” which features Willie Nelson and presages the pair’s impending full-length collaboration. More importantly, the song shows that Waylon could sing a sentimental song without making it sugary — a rare ability.

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