Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Honky Tonk Hero

According to legend, it was at Willie Nelson's Fourth of July picnic when country music star Waylon Jennings drunkenly promised a nobody named Billy Joe Shaver that he'd record a whole album of his songs. Apparently it wasn't until Shaver threatened physical violence on Jennings (in front of a Nashville studio full of people) that he finally made good on his promise, although Jennings had only recently been granted full artistic control by RCA. The result was a stunning achievement: 1973's Honky Tonk Heroes was the defining record of the anti-Nashville Outlaw movement--the term came after the album--and a cornerstone in country music history. Featuring bare-bones production and plainspoken, hard-nosed lyrics that celebrated personal freedoms and simple pleasures, the record was a far cry from the demure Nashville Sound. In each other, Waylon Jennings and Billy Joe Shaver had found a kindred spirit, and together they rewrote the country rulebook. --Marc Greilsamer

Since my last post [A Rose Of A Different Name] I've been enjoying with great pleasure many of the legendary songs and stories of famed Nashville outlaw Billy Joe Shaver who deserves so much more of a tribute than space permitted in my previous post so without further adieu let me remedy that situation by simply inviting you to meet and hear the artist and the man who is regarded by many as one of the greatest original songwriters in country music history. Here's Billy Joe Shaver performing Black Rose on Austin City Limits [circa 1984]

Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, George Jones, and The Allman Brothers, among many other artists, have recorded Billy Joe Shaver's songs.

My previous post included the same YouTube clip and follows my story of hanging out with Billy Joe in Nashville years ago. The song includes the cool hillbilly hook line 'a rose of a different name'. Black Rose appears on the 1973 Waylon Jennings album Honky Tonk Heroes. 11 of the 12 songs on that record were written by Billy Joe Shaver.

Go ahead...I'll wait here while you view the Black Rose clip…

OK now that you're back...let us pray...you say the devil made you do it the first time...the second time you done it on your own …alright so repent and say amen...Get Thee Behind Me Satan...

Freedom's Child
Copyright 2002 Billy Joe Shaver

At the breaking of the dawn
Day is born again
Just another missing link
In an endless chain
Filling up the empty space
Left by one who's gone
Freedom's child was born today
Singing Freedom's Song


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