Skip to main content

"Singer of Sad Songs" captures the disaffected Waylon Jennings

"Waylon/Singer Of Sad Songs"
Collectors’ Choice Music (CCM-2069)
Grade: ★★★★½

GM773-Waylon Jennings

Two LPs issued on RCA Records in 1970 constitute Waylon/Singer Of Sad Songs, the most influential of three such Waylon Jennings CDs released by Collectors’ Choice Music. The 22-track disc captures the moment a disaffected Jennings broke with the regimented Nashville way of recording.

Although cut in Music City, the Waylon album suggests the singer’s future direction on a rootsy version of Chuck Berry’s “Brown Eyed Handsome Man” and a vivid coloring of Mickey Newbury’s “The Thirty Third Of August.”

Cementing his alienation, Jennings recorded Singer Of Sad Songs in Los Angeles, injecting authenticity into the West Coast country-rock scene. Aiming for a contemporary sound, the album is notable for the number of tracks by rock acts or singer-songwriters, such as Tom Rush, Tim Hardin and producer Lee Hazlewood. Defying country music expectations, the disc features The Rolling Stones’ “Honky Tonk Woman,” warmly understated and split by a fiddle lead, and Chris Kenner’s “Sick And Tired,” whose insistent bass guitar proclaims its R&B heritage. Noted music historian Colin Escott writes liner notes for these CDs filled with Jennings’ late ’60s recordings.

— Joseph Tortelli

GM773-Waylon Jennings