Friday, May 2, 2008

Number 8 Honky Tonk Heroes

Number 8 Honky Tonk Heroes
Artist: Waylon Jennings
Released: July 1973

Track Listing

Honky Tonk Heroes
Old Five and Dimers Like Me
Willy the Wandering Gypsy and Me
Low Down Freedom
You Asked Me To
Ride Me Down Easy
Ain't No God In Mexico
Black Rose
We Had It All
Slow Rollin' Low*
You Asked Me Too*

Cadillac buyers and ole five and dimers like me

So here's how it happened, sort of.

Scene – quiet city street – night time.

"Put your damn hands in the air!"

A stranger had slipped up behind me and now had me at gunpoint.

"Look I don't have any money." I said.

"Shut up you dumb ass. Shut your stupid mouth. I don't want your money. Or your wife, even if she is smokin', I got a question for you and you better not fuck up boy."

I was trembling I thought it was the end for me.

"Who is Waylon Jennings?"

"Are you serious?" I asked.

"Serious as I need to be with this gun against your stupid skull."

"Well um he's that that guy who does the Dukes of Hazzard song and sometimes Willie Nelson throws him a bone and lets him perform with him."

"Wrong answer."


I was blown to ignorant hell from the most explosive musical weapon ever made, Honky Tonk Heroes performed by Waylon Jennings – written by Billy Joe Shaver.

For those of you who know a lot more than I did at the time I first heard Honky Tonk Heroes Waylon Jennings is THE outlaw. He was the original one that took the big stand against The Nashville establishment, refusing to record with studio musicians and insisting on doing things his own way. I'll leave it at that, this isn't a biography this is about my # 8 album Honky Tonk Heroes.

You hear it all the time and I think for good reason. People with a pretty sensible and wide palate for music will say "I listen to everything but country". There is nothing worse in my opinion than popular country radio. Give me that station that plays Zeppelin at five o'clock everyday, or even the dreaded dance beat club station any day over manufactured hot country sappiness. If country were on trial, exhibit A and it would be the only exhibit necessary, for me would be Honky Tonk Heroes by Waylon Jennings.

The way this sounds (thumping bass lines), the way the songs are written (Billy Joe Shaver is the shit.), the way Waylon SINGS (impossible), all of it together equals an all time great recording. It is the sound of the defiant one. More punk than you can stand. These songs are about lives harder than yours, more rebellious than yours, call it better tales through rougher living. No album in country music history stands beside this album when it comes to song writing, you may feel differently but you're wrong. This is to the credit of the previously mentioned Billy Joe Shaver. Shaver crafted songs that were honest and mythically defiant at the same time. There ain't no bullshit in these songs, bullshit free music for the defiant ones! How about some opening lines for the people.

"Long yellow haired girl here beside me fit my body warmed my mind.Sleeping quiet never knowing that tomorrow she'll be one more thing I'm gonna leave behind"

"I've spent a lifetime making up my mind to be more than the measure of what I thought others could see."

"Omaha you've been weighing heavy on my mind I guess I never really left at all.
I'm turning all those roads I walked around the other way, coming back to you Omaha."

I just pooped my pants writing that stuff! Get the picture? Good. But it just isn't the way it's written, far from it folks, it's the way Waylon performs them. The way he rumbles through these stories and puts you in those shoes if only for a moment.

"He's dead set on riding in the big rodeo. My woman is tight with an overdue baby and Willy keeps yelling hey gypsy let's go."

Wait a he going to leave his woman that is overdue!? WHY?? Well he'll tell you why..

"Low down freedom you've done cost me everything I'll ever lose. You're as empty as my pockets from the top of where you start down to the bottom of my shoes."

What a ride. It's a sonic portal to Bad Assville.

"The Devil made me do it the first time, the second time I done it on my own."

You can't stay and live there. Why? Because you ain't them that's why! But you can visit; take a look in at these Honky Tonk Heroes in all their flawed glory.

I've said enough. Cinch up your belt, grab hold of something, and detonate Honky Tonk Heroes, the fallout is sublime.

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