a hell of an ambition, to be mellow. It's like wanting to be senile."
on "middle of the road" music.
met Waylon Jennings one time and got lucky. Six hours later we were still
together, although part of the time he was performing just a few feet away
from my side-stage seat.
We actually had dinner, along with his lovely and amazingly warm wife and
soul mate, Jessi Coulter. This unforgettable evening encounter took place
at Lanierland Music Park, about forty miles north of Atlanta, a facility
snuggled into a bucolic mountain setting.
My friends are my wife, our son and a few old-timers like Johnny Cash
and Merle Haggard, Waylon said. I lost some pals when I quit
booze and drugs years ago, but I dont miss them or my bad habits.
Mr. Jennings' candor about his alcohol and drug abuse was refreshing and
would have done more for clean living than all those stupid television ads.
And, the old outlaw was so open about everything; you could have had him
telling the world his story complete with credibility.
It didnt happen.
The Grim Reaper visited Waylons bedroom in his home just outside Phoenix,
and as The Evil One did with Waylons childhood friend Buddy Holly over
four decades ago, the life was snatched out of this phenomenally gifted musician
and his soul flew away. Upward.
They called him a music outlaw. I think he liked the label because
he was a hard-core, defiant rebel. He hated every record company on earth
for their commitment to poor country music preferring mini-skirted sex kittens
that have in common beautiful bodies and terrible material. Think lower-end
rock and roll that is as nourishing as junk food. I mean Waylon hated them.
For years he had a morning drive-time radio show in Nashville and his sole
mission was to crucify these worthless bastards.
Waylon Jennings did things no other singer has done. Besides composing and
recording songs that sold into the millions for a career that began when
he was a teenager in Lubbock, Texas, he wrote and recorded a tribute to all
southerners who suffered and died in the Civil War, titled White Mansions.
He wrote the theme song for and narrated the popular television show, The
Dukes of Hazard. He sang some of the songs used in the monumental PBS
epic, The Civil War. And he performed live concerts throughout
His last band was a mixture of jazz, blues, rock and country virtuosos. These
guys could boogie on down and play any kind of music. If youve yet
to hear Waylon Jennings do Little Richards classic Lucille,
then you have one more big event to look forward to in this life. His unequalled,
rich bass baritone - Waylons best instrumentis showcased in pure
Waylon Jennings was one of our last links to the beginnings of rock and roll.
He was the surviving member of the immortal Buddy Holly and The Crickets.
God must have created him to play a Fender Telecaster. He played with little
effort in a style that defies copying. But, more than anything, I remember
him as a good man, proud of those he loved deeply and honest enough to lay
on the table those very few things which offended him.
My favorite line from a Waylon Jennings song is Ive always been
crazy, but its kept me from going insane. Someday, I may paint
this on a wall, or even have it tattooed so everyone can see it.
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Copyright 2003. All rights reserved. Doc Lawrence can be reached at: email@example.com