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VARIOUS ARTISTS —OUTLAW: CELEBRATING THE MUSIC OF WAYLON JENNINGS (Sony Music) CD + DVD

www. legacyrecordings.com

 

www.waylonoutlaw.com

 

Tribute albums can be something of a hit and miss thing. The all-star live recording has those involved make a good, if not five-star fist of it. All the names are there, but all too few of them get a firm grip on the material. Maybe I am being a little over critical as the sound of Waylon himself comes to mind.

Fair enough if they were found leaning over to Waylon’s version, but there is distinct lack of body and soul to al too many of the songs for me to give it unreserved approval. With that burden off my chest the generous set of songs do include a power driven “I Ain’t Living Long Like This” (Chris Stapleton), Sturgill Simpson get down to the  basics on “Memories Of You And I” and Kacey Musgraves (w/ Miss Arriaga) ease through with a refreshing version of “The Wurlitzer Prize”, and with enthusiastic verve Ryan Bingham romps through “Rainy Day Woman”. Loaded in steel guitar (Robby Turner) and lots more (Don Was on bass, Richie Albright and Raymond Weber on drums; Matt Rollings on piano and Buddy Miller on electric guitar) his weathered vocals pull it off in style.

 

Allison Kruass’ whispery tones are quite well suited to “Dreaming My Dreams With You” but it isn’t till Eric Church via “Lonesome, On’ry And Mean” and Jamey Johnson, with a killer version of “Freedom To Stay” as he pulls out all the stops the show really takes off. You could have heard a pin drop such the reverence Johnson's held by country music followers (he is also good on the bonus behind the scenes chat; this as influences of Waylon, The Highwaymen and how Waylon got started (Bobby Bare) is told. It is a wonderful celebration of Waylon Jennings’ career, and of the man too. There is no denying he was a unique talent, and he had a distinctive style, both as a guitar player and vocalist! Between Johnson, Church and Bobby Bare who does a fine job of “Only Daddy Who Walks the Line” and one or two more there is a considerable gap to one or two other tracks.  

 

While Waylon’s old friend, Willie Nelson isn’t in the best shape on a couple of songs he slots in better on “The Highwayman” (w/ Kris Kristofferson, Waylon’s son, Shooter Jennings and Johnson; he can do no wrong) and the grand final as the whole cast get together for a rousing version of “Luckenbach, Texas (Back To The Basics Of Love)”. With those on stage having as much fun as those the audience there is no holding back come the closing number as a true country legend is remembered.

 

                                                              Maurice Hope  

 

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Year 2016

1
Levi Parham
90 pts.
These American Blues
Music Road Records
GC,JBO,TK
2
Martha Fields
86 pts.
Southern White Lies
Independent
BP,BH,FB,JAB,RW,SP
3
Carter Sampson
75 pts.
Wilder Side
Independent/CRS
AN,CRS,JB
4
Anna Elizabeth Laube
65 pts.
Tree
Ahh...Pockets! Records
DH,NC
5
Michael McDermott
60 pts.
Willow Springs
Pauper Sky Records
BK,MM
6
Shovels & Rope
54 pts.
Little Seeds
New West
 
7
Robert Ellis
53 pts.
Robert Ellis
New West Records
DHO
8
Sturgill Simpson
52 pts.
A Sailor’s Guide to Earth
Atlantic Records
JJ,JF
9
Douglas Greer
50 pts.
Baja Louisiana
Zilker Park Records
HDB,ML
10
Lucinda Williams
46 pts.
The Ghosts Of Highway 20
Highway 20 Records
EM
11
Buddy Miller & Friends
44 pts.
Cayamo Sessions at Sea
New West Records
 
12
Wink Burcham
43 pts.
Cleveland Summer Nights
Continental Song City
 
13
Eric Brace & Peter Cooper
42 pts.
C&O Canal
Red Beet Records
BR
14
Brent Cobb
41 pts.
Shine On A Rainy Day
Elektra Records
HH
 
Daniel Romano
41 pts.
Mosey
New West
CVL
 
Leonard Cohen
41 pts.
You Want it Darker
Sony Music
HO
17
Christian Kjellvander
40 pts.
A Village: Natural Light
Tapete Records
BM
18
Drive-By Truckers
39 pts.
American Band
ATO Records
AR,EZ
19
Birds of Chicago
38 pts.
Real Midnight
Five Head Entertainment
LM,SZ
20
John Prine
37 pts.
For Better, or Worse
Oh Boy Records
FS,MB
21
The Cactus Blossoms
36 pts.
You’re Dreaming
Red House Records
GS,HD
22
Richmond Fontaine
35 pts.
You Can’t Go Back
Décor Records
FCE
23
Gillian Welch
34 pts.
Boots No.1: The Official Revival Bootleg
Acony Records
LK,PR,TJ
24
Sarah Jarosz
33 pts.
Undercurrent
Sugar Hill
RM
25
Joe Purdy
32 pts.
Who Will Be Next?
Mudtown Crier Records
AL
 
The Devil Makes Three
32 pts.
Redemption & Ruin
New West

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