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Waylon Jennings

Bob Dylan sang "to live outside the law you must be honest." Waylon Jennings covered Dylan on his first independent album, cut in Phoenix in 1964. His sound was born here, and it was here that he died, in February 2002, but the Texas-born Jennings was known as the Nashville...
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Bob Dylan sang "to live outside the law you must be honest." Waylon Jennings covered Dylan on his first independent album, cut in Phoenix in 1964. His sound was born here, and it was here that he died, in February 2002, but the Texas-born Jennings was known as the Nashville Rebel, not because he starred in a movie of that name, but because he lived and worked and recorded in Nashville, and took pains to defy all efforts by the Nashville orthodoxy to compromise his music.

Jennings, who was at one time a member of Buddy Holly's band, added a rock strut to country. He was lucky because there was a great renaissance in country songwriting in the '70s that worked perfectly with his burnished leather voice, his Telecaster, and sharp Ralph Mooney steel pedal backup.

This long-overdue and comprehensive four-disc boxed set proves that Jennings' music is as good now as it was then — maybe better, because time and distance and grief have added a measure of depth to his recordings. There's a chunk of unreleased material here, including a duet with Johnny Cash, and all of Jennings' hits, all proving that while Jennings may have lived outside the law, no one could question his honesty.

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