Waylon Jennings: Goin' Down Rockin' (Southbound)

Waylon Jennings: The Ways of the World
Waylon Jennings: Goin' Down Rockin' (Southbound)

Subtitled "The Last Recordings", this 12 song collection appears a decade after Jennings' death at age 74 but the title almost came true many decades previous.

Jennings had been playing with Buddy Holly and gave up his seat on that final flight which killed Buddy, the Big Bopper and Richie Valens. If the plane had been any bigger it might have taken not just Waylon but also Dion who was on the tour.

Needless to say for the one-time outlaw there are two parallel threads in these songs as the title track suggests: there's the fighting spirit songs (If My Harley Was Runnin', Never Say Die) which are the least successful and the reflective songs where he considers mortality and the passing of time (I Do Believe, the spare The Ways of the World) and are infused with gravitas.

He also gets away a couple of timeless gems in Sad Songs and Waltzes ("just aint sellin' this year") and She Was No Good For Me.

These songs were originally recorded with just Jennings on guitar but the subtle over-dubs subsequently added are respectful and come from those who had worked with him, including Tony Joe White who adds guitar to the title track.

Jennings never quite connected with a non-country audience in the way his Highwaymen pals Kristofferson, Cash and Willie Nelson did, but he possessed one of the most honest, hard worn voices and was a damn fine songwriter (Wastin' Time here sounds like it comes from an earlier time) so if here he errs towards the cliche we'd have to give him a few points in because the well was perhaps running dry . . . other than when staring into the infinite darkness ahead.

Moving, but perhaps one for those who know Jennings rather than the casual passerby. 

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section

Kora: Light Years (Kora)

Kora: Light Years (Kora)

Among the encouraging signs in New Zealand music at present -- the counter argument to all the pop which seems aimed more at radio programmers and funding money than coming from the heart -- is... > Read more

Slim Chance: The Show Goes On; The Songs of Ronnie Lane (Fishpool/Southbound)

Slim Chance: The Show Goes On; The Songs of Ronnie Lane (Fishpool/Southbound)

There is a lovely but very sad doco The Passing Show about the life of the late Ronnie Lane, formerly of the Small Faces and Faces, who died -- more correctly wasted away through multiple sclerosis... > Read more

New Elsewhere

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Otis Mace

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Otis Mace

You would have to have lived a very sheltered life in Auckland not to have encountered Otis Mace, the post-punk street singer-songwriter who has become something of a folk hero. In his time... > Read more

Louis Sclavis Quartet: Silk and Salt Melodies (ECM/Ode)

Louis Sclavis Quartet: Silk and Salt Melodies (ECM/Ode)

By any measure this is an unusual album from French clarinettist Sclavis with guitarist Gilles Coronado and keyboard player Benjamin Moussay (who worked together previously as the Atlas Trio).... > Read more