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Country - Released January 12, 1976 | Columbia

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Country - Released June 1, 1975 | RCA Victor

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Country - Released July 1, 1973 | RCA Records Label Nashville

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Country - Released January 12, 1976 | RCA Records Label Nashville

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
The term "outlaw" had been bandied about after Waylon Jennings' 1972 hit "Ladies Love Outlaws," but it didn't permanently gel until the release of the album Wanted! The Outlaws in 1976. The songs in this packaged product weren't new -- the album contained previously released material by Jennings, Willie Nelson, Tompall Glaser, and Jennings' wife Jessi Colter (who had hit the charts a year earlier with "I'm Not Lisa"). But it marked the industry's recognition of the changing times, and as the center point of a campaign to publicize Nashville's new "progressive" breed, it worked like a charm. It quickly became the first country album to sell more than a million copies, and it boosted the careers of all involved. © Kurt Wolff /TiVo
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Country - Released May 1, 2007 | RLG - Legacy

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Country - Released March 1, 1970 | A&M

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The country and western and folk music paths come together here as if they were two mountain trails meeting at a truly wonderful vista. This is years before Jennings introduced thudding double bass drums, heavy electric guitars, the thick scraggly beard, and the dark leather cowboy hat. Here he just looks like a well dressed dude who might break your nose in a bar. In the world of used record store buyers who ask for "no beards" on their Waylon, Merle, or Willie, this here is the jackpot. Jennings comes across as an undersung interpreter of Bob Dylan; this is a "Don't Think Twice" one can really take seriously, while the "I Don't Believe You," with its soulful dobro picking and swishing Jerry Lee Lewis-style piano, is one of the best covers ever of a songwriter whose work has been recorded extensively. There's more. Jennings pulls off a fine rendition of "House of the Rising Sun" and is arrogant enough to call his arrangement "The Real Rising Sun." A trio of terrific country tunes are there for the old fans, and things only falter with some banal cover versions on side two. Herb Alpert co-produced, and one wonders if he is blowing the trumpet on the version of Ian Tyson's "Four Strong Winds." © Eugene Chadbourne /TiVo
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Country - Released April 1, 1974 | RCA - Legacy

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Country - Released December 1, 1976 | RLG - BMG Heritage

As one of the great live albums, Waylon Live is nearly flawless, a snapshot of Waylon Jennings at the height of his powers and, not so coincidentally, at the peak of the outlaw movement. At this time, he was popular and powerful, creating a mythos out of his performances and songs, delivering first-rate material both on record and in concert. This is where it all came together, since a set list limited Waylon to his best songs, whether his own hits or carefully selected covers. This is especially true of 1999's Buddha reissue that included nine bonus tracks (all put into the middle of the record), restoring Waylon Live to the double-LP running time it was designed to have. With the restoration of this section -- containing such perennials as "Lovin' Her Was Easier (Than Anything I'll Ever Do Again)," "Lonesome, On'ry and Mean," "The Taker," "Look Into My Teardrops," and "Never Been to Spain" -- the record really becomes a definitive statement on outlaw country and how it bent the rules, borrowing from country and rock and twisting them into something thoroughly distinctive. On top of it all, Waylon and his band give a bracing, terrific performance, investing these songs with more passion than they had previously seen on record. It winds up as one of the great country records and one of the great live albums, capturing a movement at its peak and transcending it. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Country - Released March 22, 2004 | RLG - BMG Heritage

It's a music criticism cliché to complain about the title of a collection like Ultimate Waylon Jennings, to snipe that the album doesn't live up to the promise of its title when, after all, the Ultimate series is merely RCA/BMG's response to Sony's popular Essentials series. Still, when a compilation falls as short of the mark as this, it's hard not to grumble. Ultimate Waylon Jennings suffers from the need to be evenhanded and to extend the compilation to his less popular and less artistically successful '80s recordings, including a selection from the supergroup the Highwaymen. This comes at the expense of any '60s hit outside of "Only Daddy That'll Walk the Line," any song from the immortal Honky Tonk Heroes, several hits (including many number ones), and a lot of great album tracks and minor hits. Of course, these kind of omissions are inevitable when a career as rich and prolific as Waylon's is condensed to a mere 22 tracks, but the problem is that there is too much emphasis on late-'70s material and too many tracks from the '80s (a full seven songs), and there are too many classic tracks missing. Nevertheless, there are enough classics present -- such as "The Taker," "I'm a Ramblin' Man," "Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way," and "Luckenbach, Texas (Back to the Basics of Love)" -- to make it an enjoyable listen, but there are so many good Waylon compilations on the market that there's not much reason to get this, even if it's billed as Ultimate. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Country - Released September 1, 1974 | RCA - Legacy

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North America - Released July 25, 2014 | Stockfisch Records

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Country - Released March 1, 1973 | RLG - BMG Heritage

Lonesome, On'ry and Mean is the quintessential Waylon Jennings outlaw record. Waylon produced the set -- the first unfettered by the bonds of RCA -- with his own band, and the results are nothing less than electrifying. Steve Young, the perennial country and folk music outsider, may have penned the title cut, but Waylon's delivery as an anthem bears in it all of his years of frustration at not being able to make the music he wanted to. Fury is a better word for what is heard in the grain of the song's lyrics. Young's own version is devastating, but this one is transcendent. (And why is it that Travis Tritt was picked to sing this at Waylon's memorial instead of Young, who was also present? Talk about misguided justice.) But the boundaries between rock & roll and country come down once again on this album in Kris Kristofferson's "Me & Bobby McGee," as folk and post-psychedelia meet Texas in Mickey Newbury's "San Francisco Mabel Joy" and the broken, road-weary pop honky tonk balladry of Danny O'Keefe's "Good Time Charlie's Got the Blues." Add to this Johnny Cash's "Gone to Denver" and Willie Nelson's "Pretend I Never Happened," and you have an outsider's dream. That the rest of the recording is just as consistent, just as seamless in its execution, production, and delivery, makes Lonesome, On'ry and Mean the first seriously pitched battle in the 1970s country music wars. And this one went to Jennings and his fans, hands down. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Country - Released April 1, 1977 | RLG - BMG Heritage

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Ol' Waylon was released when Waylon Jennings had become a superstar. Outlaw was still popular, perhaps at its peak, but it was no longer the movement that it had been just a few short years before. As if offering proof, Waylon cut his most formulaic album since the early '60s, a record that satisfied the demands of outlaw without ever stretching them. Since this was recorded at a near-peak of not only his popularity but his power, there are some great moments on Ol' Waylon, particularly on the lead single "Luckenbach, Texas (Back to the Basics of Love)," a wonderful reminiscence of times back, "If You See Me Getting Smaller," and "I Think I'm Gonna Kill Myself." The rest of the record is a little formulaic and reliant on covers, sometimes enjoyably (including a version of Kenny Rogers' "Lucille"), sometimes not as much ("Sweet Caroline" was never suited for Waylon's style). Overall, Ol' Waylon is pretty enjoyable, but it winds up feeling a little hollow, as if Jennings was trying to give the audience what it wanted. There are enough good moments to make it worthwhile, not just to the dedicated but for some casual fans enamored of the outlaw years, but it's still an album that gets by more on its style than substance. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Country - Released September 26, 2006 | RLG - Legacy

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Country - Released June 1, 1976 | RLG - BMG Heritage

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If the heavy-hitters of outlaw country were acting like rock stars during their mid-'70s peak, then perhaps it was inevitable that the outlaws would start singing rock songs -- which is precisely what Waylon Jennings did on 1976's Are You Ready for the Country. Although the title is taken from Neil Young's song -- which provides an absolutely storming opener for this ten-song record -- there is a bit of a jibe to its sentiment as well, since Waylon not only sings Young, but also the Marshall Tucker Band and Dr. Hook, along with reviving Jimmy Webb's "MacArthur Park." That selection of material indicates not just the increasing rock-isms of Waylon and the outlaws, it also indicates that Jennings' focus was beginning to blur slightly as he lost the sense of purpose that propelled his records of the first half the '70s, from The Taker/Tulsa to Dreaming My Dreams. Here, the music hasn't really changed, but the flow is no longer seamless and the shifting tones can be a little jarring. Also, Jennings' songwriting starts to slip a little bit here; none of his originals are bad, and "I'll Go Back to Her" is quite good, but they're all decidedly second tier. All things considered, though, most of the individual moments hold up quite well, with "Are You Ready for the Country" and a wonderful, surging take on Marshall Tucker's "Can't You See" ranking among Waylon's best music of the era. There are other very good moments, such as the cracking "Jack a Diamonds," and the entire record is entertaining, but more for a collection of moments than a cohesive whole. That's the first time since the late '60s that one of Jennings' albums felt like less than the sum of its parts, and if it didn't necessarily mark the end of the era, it did mark the point when he started to ease back from his startling peak of creativity. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Country - Released April 1, 1979 | RCA Records Label Nashville

RCA's nine-track 1979 Greatest Hits collection has since been supplemented by more thorough compilations -- most notably the double-disc sets Only Daddy That'll Walk the Line and RCA Country Legends -- but as a snapshot of Waylon at his outlaw peak, this serves quite well. And, make no mistake, this concentrates solely on the outlaw years, leaving off anything from the '60s, including such defining songs as "Only Daddy That'll Walk the Line" and "The Taker." Instead of being hurt by such exclusions, this Greatest Hits gains strength by its sharp focus on the peak of his outlaw years. Each of these nine songs has a nearly mythological pull, presenting ol' Waylon as the Nashville rebel, honky tonk hero, and ramblin' man who stormed through country music in the '70s with his piledriving hardcore country (yet wasn't afraid to show a macho sensitive side, as he did with "Amanda"). He made plenty of other great songs than what's here, especially during the outlaw era, but every tune here is at the core of his legend, which is why this Greatest Hits remains a great listen, even after it's been replaced by more comprehensive collections. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Country - Released September 1, 1972 | RLG - Legacy

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Country - Released February 1, 1972 | RLG - Legacy

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Country - Released September 1, 1978 | RLG - BMG Heritage

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By 1978 Waylon Jennings had been through the wringer with his position as one of the most visible "outlaw" country stars: he'd been busted for drugs and was addicted to both cocaine and alcohol and was tired of the hype surrounding Nashville's co-opting what he, Willie Nelson, and a handful of others started in the name of greater artistic control. I've Always Been Crazy is his first "political" statement about his feelings. And while it may not be as great an album as Ol' Waylon or Dreaming My Dreams, it's still a fine one. With a cast of players that includes the great Tony Joe White, Ralph Mooney, Carter Robertson, Reggie Young, and Bee Spears, the band assembled here smokes. In addition to the title track, this set also features the classic "Don't You Think This Outlaw Bit's Done Got Outta Hand." But even though these two cuts would have been worth the purchase of the album, the rest is nothing to dismiss. There are fine covers of a medley of Buddy Holly hits, a poignant, barely disguised ode to old friend and rambling mate Billy Joe Shaver, the glorious "A Long Time Ago," and the outlaw shuffle "As the 'Billy World Turns." There are also fine, heartfelt covers of Merle Haggard's "Tonight the Bottle Let Me Down" and Johnny Cash's "I Walk the Line." The set closes with a pair of ballads, which is uncharacteristic of Jennings during this period; there's "Girl I Can Tell (You're Trying to Work It Out)," with its folk song melody and country music bridge. And finally, the four-and-a-half-minute "Whistlers and Jugglers," a broken love song by Shel Silverstein that talks of surrender and loss so poignant and sharp, it numbers among Jennings' finer performances of the late '70s. In all, I've Always Been Crazy is a solid recording, still possessing the piss and vinegar of Jennings' best work with a deeper lyrical edge on most tracks. In fact, despite its obvious origins, the Holly medley is the only thing that keeps the album from being as stellar as the aforementioned ones. Nonetheless, this is necessary for any fan of outlaw country in general and Jennings in particular. As a perverse side note, it inexplicably took BMG until 2004 to issue this record on CD. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Country - Released September 13, 1994 | RCA - Legacy