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Thursday, June 15, 2017

Write the words that won't wear out

“Honesty is something you can't wear out.” – Waylon Jennings
Born on this date in 1937, Jennings grew up in Littlefield, TX, where he learned how to play guitar by the time he was 8 and started in the entertainment business at age 12 – working as a DJ at a local radio station.   In 1954 he befriended rising star Buddy Holly who also became his mentor, collaborating with him on songs, and helping produce Waylon’s first record.
Jennings also became a fill-in player for Holly’s group The Crickets and was with him in Iowa on his final tour that ended in Holly’s death in a plane crash.  Jennings was supposed to be on that plane with Holly but at the last minute gave up his seat to The Big Bopper because the latter was suffering from a bad cold.
Ultimately, Jennings became one of the great songwriters       and singers of country, country rock, and a new genre – founded with Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson and Jessi Coulter – called Outlaw Country.   He was still at the height of his career when he died in 2002 of complications from diabetes at the relatively young age of 64.

Jennings was known for his support of many social issues and causes, saying it was an easy choice.  “A lot of times people don't want to hear it.  But you know, if some good is done to you, you should pass it on.”

YouTube is filled with Waylon Jennings songs.  A couple I've always enjoyed, both for their tunes and the terrific lyrics are “Luckenback, Texas,” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n-qj-CnGZd4  and “Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys,” here sung as a duet with old pal Willie Nelson, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VkYmvKnZHtE    Enjoy!

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