various artists,
Lonesome, On'ry & Mean:
A Tribute to Waylon Jennings

(Dualtone, 2003)

You do not get more alternate-country than the outlaw Waylon Jennings and his music. This is the sort of music that vindicates country. Dualtone appear to making a career out of these tribute albums and I for one welcome the series. Their Johnny Cash tribute was excellent and this maintains the standard. The artists range from the famous to the slightly not famous -- at least in my region of Ireland.

Guy Clark opens the CD in fine form with "Good Hearted Woman" and is followed by that good-voiced woman, Nanci Griffith, on the excellent "You Asked Me To." New artists are also featured and this is evident with a contribution from Norah Jones of the "Wurlitzer Prize." The lovely voice blends so well with piano, guitar and bass. I always associated "Amanda" with the most laidback of country singers, Don Williams, but Dave Alvin gives it a great outing here.

Junior Brown sings "Nashville Rebel," a song that reflects Jennings' mindset. He has "things to do and things to say in my own way." The next track from the pen of Jennings, "Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way," tells us that he was a new voice and attitude when he took to country music, or rather took country music and shaped it to his ideas.

Carlene Carter gives us a spirited rendition of another of his compositions, "I've Always Been Crazy." Although not composed by Jennings, "Luckenbach, Texas" is as close as you get to a biography of the country outlaws. One of those outlaws, Kris Kristofferson, adds his tribute with Jennings song "I Do Believe." The title track comes at the end of the CD, performed by Henry Rollins. This is country rock with attitude and leaves the listener breathless at the end of an excellent tribute album.

The insert provides a very good short biography of Jennings along with some photographs covering a long and eventful career. This is a great way to experience the sound of Waylon Jennings as interpreted by a diverse collection of performers, who give new life to some fantastic songs that are not really in need to resuscitation, but the interpretations are a bonus.

Let's hope that Dualtone maintain the series, I certainly look forward to many more tributes.

- Rambles
written by Nicky Rossiter
published 26 July 2003

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