Waylon Jennings

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Michael Watts

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["Honky Tonk Heroes"] is distinguished by its celebration of The Last Round-up, its air of cowboys trying to reconcile the present with the past, which Waylon's big, weary voice, always at the heart of the arrangement, brilliantly conveys. "Old Five And Dimers" and "Willie The Wandering Gypsy And Me" (about Willie Nelson) are great, existentialist songs of boozy camaraderie, which unleash in the imagination huge vistas of prairies and an older America for the roaming and roving thereof. They're tough and sad and grizzled. In "Willie" Waylon sings, "well, I reckon we're gonna ramble till hell freezes over," and it's all there in that line, the conviction and authority, seem so appealing to ears usually assaulted by foppery and punkiness. If you want some good, matured stuff, I urge you to get this album. Do yourself a favour.

Michael Watts, "Albums: 'Honky Tonk Heroes'," in Melody Maker (© IPC Business Press Ltd.), May 4, 1974, p. 41.

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