365 Days of Album Recommendations – Sep 6

Waylon Jennings –  Lonesome, On’ry and Mean


This is it, man. This is the origin story of Outlaw Country. Remember this quote?

“That’s one of the big problems of country music. They don’t want the country folks to know very much and they don’t give ’em credit for knowin’ very much. Country fans are as smart as anybody and it’s an insult to ’em when a program director says, well, that song’s too deep for our audience. Bullshit.”

That’s what Waylon told Rolling Stone, when asked about his “new direction.”

Remember this song?

On a greyhound bus,
Lord I’m traveling this morning
I’m going to Shreveport and on down to New Orleans
Been driving these highways,
Been doing things my way
It’s been making me lonesome on’ry and mean

Now her hair was jet black,
And her name was Codene
Thought she was the cream of the Basin Street queens
She got tired of that smokey whine dream
Began to feel lonesome on’ry and mean

We got together, and we cashed in our sweeps.
Gave ’em to a beggar
Who was mumbling through the streets
There’s no escaping
From his snowy white dreams
Born lookin’ lonesome on’ry and mean

Now I’m down in this valley,
Where the wheels turn so low
At dawn I pray, to the Lord of my soul
I say do Lord, do right by me
You know I’m tired of being lonesome on’ry and mean

You hear Waylon sing that shit, you KNOW you’re in Outlaw Country.

Waylon produced it, and brought his own band in. A big middle finger to the industry. This is where the country culture wars began.

What happened?

Well, Waylon Jennings died in 2002. That same year, Toby Keith won the Entertainer of the Year award from the Academy of Country Music.

The day the music died, indeed.

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