Saturday, October 2, 2010

Country Music Month - The Texas Connection - Waylon Jennings (For My Brother Mark)

Texas and Country Music go together like a hand and glove. A short list of country superstars from Texas reads like a Who's Who of the industry - Willie Nelson, Bob Wills, George Strait, George Jones, Waylon Jennings... I'll never forget the day that I heard Waylon had died, February 13, 2002. My Brother Mark and I were roommates in a little house in Tyler, Texas. We were/are early risers and one of the first things we did each morning was crank up some music, followed by beer for breakfast and a manually assembled relaxation device. Mark is a Waylon guy, I am a Hank, Jr guy. On this day, we were both Waylon guys. It was like a swift kick in the gazebos. Painful and you can't believe it just happened. Mark and I liked Waylon's music because of the stories that Waylon wrote about. We had lived those songs. Waylon put them to music, singing about our Rough and Rowdy Days. But now the music had stopped, no more of that familiar thumping bass, no more stories about a Good Hearted Woman or Luckenbach, Texas.

Looking back, it's hard to believe that Waylon Arnold Jennings started his singing career in 1949! He was twelve years old. Ten years later he would be the bassist for Buddy Holly's new band and would be the man that gave up his plane seat to a fellow Texan, The Big Bopper, on The Day the Music Died, February 3, 1959. From there, the man from Littlefield, Texas would record over sixty albums and gain worldwide fame as one of the original Outlaws of Country Music. But Waylon knew that Ladies Love Outlaws, just ask Jessie Colter. Waylon was a Ramblin' Man  and his hometown of Littlefield knew it too and saw fit to name an RV Park after him. That's when you know you are a superstar in Texas! Hank Williams, Jr recorded several songs with Waylon and in one of them said about Waylon, "he's got a string of hits about two miles long". True that, and thanks to websites like You Tube, Waylon and his two miles of hit music live on.

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All Original Material © Toby Shoemaker