Friday, December 23, 2011

Prick Tunes: Waylon Jennings "Waymore's Blues"

There aren't many fellas cooler than Waylon Jennings was. I could probably dedicate a whole month to the man and still unearth more interesting stuff along the way. I guess there's no better place to start than with the third verse of "Waymore's Blues," which perfectly and succinctly encapsulates the conflicted machismo running through much of his work.

I got a good woman. What's the matter with me?
What makes want to love every woman I see?
I was triflin' when I met her, I'm triflin' again
And every woman she sees looks like a place I came in.
(Looks like a place I came in)
(A place I came in)

Put yourself back in 1975, listening to the radio and hearing the end of that verse for the first time. In the self-titled "Waymore's Blues," we find Jennings at the controls of the runaway train that was Outlaw Country. With its whiskey-soaked rollick providing the rhythmic backdrop, Waylon first evokes the memory of one of the forebears of the genre, Jimmie Rodgers. In the verse that follows he seems to be bridging the gap between the generations by describing through analogy the way his predecessor played the game and how he plays it in the present. Travelling across that bridge, he contemporizes the experience of the troubadour, inserting a bit of that cocky outlaw ethos in the final two verses.

The result is undistilled brilliance.

Here is a live version that stays pretty close to the album cut from Dreaming My Dreams.

And here is an acoustic version from Cowboy Jack Clement's TV show (if it is properly attributed on YouTube).

Now, if I'm not mistaken that's Jessi Colter in the second video on the bench. If so, kudos to you Waylon. Kudos to you.

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