30 January 2011

Waylon Jennings "Live from Austin TX" DVDs

New West Records has been issuing CD and DVD releases from Austin City Limits for several years now, and Waylon Jennings has been given the home video treatment twice.  The first release, Waylon Jennings Live from Austin TX was taken from an April 1, 1989 performance; the second release is actually from an earlier, August 7, 1984 show.  It doesn't matter that they're not in chronological sequence, of course.  The '89 show was released on both CD and DVD; the '84 release was released in a combo pack with both formats as well as a standalone DVD version.

For my money, they're both outstanding.  Waylon looks and sounds great in both performances, though he seems more relaxed in his later appearance.  Taping in 1984 there's no telling what shape his mind was in; five years later, he'd reached a more stable and self-assured place in life.  Then again, maybe it's all in my head.  Whatever the case, Waymore deftly manipulated both of the intimate audiences with off-the-cuff phrasing, unexpected growling and a time-tested impersonation of Willie Nelson.  It almost doesn't matter what the songs performed were; the shows are that energetic and captivating.  Just so you know, though, most of the material covered will be familiar to even casual fans: "Clyde," "Luckenbach, Texas," "Good Hearted Woman," even "Theme from The Dukes of Hazzard (Good Ol' Boys)" gets a raucous reading in the '89 set.

There is a third episode of Austin City Limits on the market featuring Waylon; the CD and DVD releases go by the title Outlaw Country Live from Austin TX and showcases a guitar pull with Waylon, Willie, Kris Kristofferson, Billy Joe Shaver and Kimmie Rhodes that was recorded in 1996.  I've got the CD release of that one, and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it as well.  Rhodes seems out of place at first blanch, but Kris has always been more "alt" than "outlaw," and Willie's as much one as the other so the group dynamics remain fairly balanced.  Waylon's song selections there are all from his Right for the Time album, and are likely unfamiliar to casual fans who may have overlooked his penultimate studio album recording.

Waylon Jennings Live from Austin TX
Released: 21 February 2006 (DVD $16.98CD$15.98)

Waylon Jennings Live from Austin TX '84
Released: 28 October 2008 (DVD $16.98)

Outlaw Country Live from Austin TX
Released: 26 September 2006 (DVD $19.98CD $17.98)