Waylon Jennings is one of the most beloved and prolific performers in country music history. He's one of America's honky-tonk heroes. But he was also one of the best storytellers in country music. This performance of "Waymore's Blues" on "Cowboy" Jack Clement's television show is proof that nobody knows stage presence and how to captivate a crowd quite like Jennings.
The video shows outlaw country legend Jennings discussing the song with an off-camera Jack Clement, who jokingly claims he's never heard the song even though he produced 1974's Dreaming My Dreams, the album that features the track. Throughout the performance, the "Come Back and See Me" singer shoots sly, sidelong glances at Jessi Colter, putting their remarkable chemistry on full display. After the performance, Jennings tells his wife that songwriter and poet Shel Silverstein called "Waymore's Blues" a "true American folk song," despite Jennings' claims that the song made no sense. Colter ribs her husband for saying the song has no meaning and his liberal use of "poetic license."
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Written by the singer and Curtis Buck, "Waymore's Blues" is a pedal steel guitar ode to a rambling lifestyle, paying tribute to legendary country artist Jimmie Rodgers and giving a nod to Jennings' own reputation being one of the wild ones and tearing it up from New York to Arkansas over the years. (Like he once sang, "You don't mess around with me.")
This Waylon Jennings performance is an outlaw country treasure and a reminder that there will never be another like ol' Waylon.
This article was originally published in 2017.
"Waymore's Blues" Lyrics
Well, I woke up this mornin' it was drizzlin' rain
Around the curve come a passenger train
Heard somebody yodel and a hobo moan
Jimmy he's dead, he's been a long time gone.
Been a long time gone, a long time gone.
If you want to get to heaven, gotta D-I-E
You gotta put on your coat and T-I-E
Want to get the rabbit out the L-O-G
You gotta make a commotion like a D-O-G
Like a D-O-G, like a D-O-G, yeah.
Well, I got a good woman, what's the matter with me?
What makes me want to love every woman I see?
I was trifling when I met her now I'm trifling again
And every woman she sees looks like the place I came in
Looks like the place I came in place I came in
I got my name painted on my shirt
I ain't no ordinary dude
I don't have to work, I don't have to work