Thursday, November 11, 2010
Jango Song Of The Day-Waylon Jennings
Song:I'm A Ramblin' Man
Waylon Jennings was probably the country music artist who most benefitted from the Outlaw Country movement of the 70s. Because until then, he had been floundering around the music business for a long time and didn't fit into country music's squeaky clean image. Of course he became even more popular when he worked on the TV show Dukes Of Hazzard. His cocaine addiction led to his decline in the 80s and his 2002 death. He was born June 15, 1937 in Littlefield, TX and learned to play the guitar as a child. He was a DJ at a Lubbock radio station and befriended Buddy Holly. He joined Holly's band for a 1959 tour of the Midwest. Of course we all know that Holly, The Big Bopper and Richie Valens died during that tour when their plane crashed on Feb. 3, 1959. Jennings was supposed to be on that plane but gave up his seat when The Big Bopper was suffering from a cold. Jennings said he felt guilty about the crash and worked as a DJ in Arizona for several years. He signed with Herb Alpert's A & M label in 1964 but Alpert wanted Jennings to record pop music. When Bobby Bare recorded Jennings' song Four Strong Winds, Bare recommended Jennings to RCA Nashville head Chet Atkins. Jennings moved to Nashville in 1965. In the late 60s, Jennings was getting nowhere. And after he recovered from a near fatal bout of hepatitus, he moved back to Texas and considered getting back into broadcasting. Willie Nelson was also frustrated with Nashville. The two got together with new manager Neil Rushen and Rushen got Jennings more creative control over his recordings. His new recordings were a huge success and Jennings had his first #1 country music hit with This Time in 1974. I'm A Ramblin' Man was the next single and also topped the country charts. It was written by veteran saongwriter producer Ray Pennington. Jennings' success continued through the 70s. But his cocaine addiction was starting to take its toll. He was arrested for cocaine possession in 1977 but the charges were dropped due to DEA bungling. Meanwhile he had his biggest mainstream success with his work on the TV series The Dukes Of Hazzard. He kicked his cocaine habit cold turkey and also left RCA for MCA. Of coure he wasn't as successful there and Jennings was plagued by health problems, especially diabetes, until his death on Feb. 13, 2002 at age 64. Normally I don't recommend box sets but this 2006 4CD comp from Sony is reasonably priced and has Jennings recordings from all the labels he recorded for throughout his career. You won't need anything else. There is also a companion DVD which includes this 1974 Jennings performance of I'm A Ramblin' Man on the Cowboy Jack Clements Show. You can get both for under 50 bucks. You can't beat that.