Waylon Jennings – Folk-Country (1966/2016) [AcousticSounds 24-96]

Waylon Jennings – Folk-Country (1966/2016)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/96 kHz | Time – 29:21 minutes | 653 MB | Genre: Country
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: AcousticSounds | Artwork: Front cover | RLG/Legacy

Folk-Country is the major-label debut album by Waylon Jennings, released in 1966 on RCA Victor. It is his first collaboration with producer Chet Atkins. The album bears little resemblance to the sound Jennings would pioneer in the 1970s as part of the “outlaw” movement, with Atkins tempering Waylon’s assertive vocal style and surrounding him with the hallmarks of the “Nashville sound” that had been enormously successful for previous RCA artists like Patsy Cline and Jim Reeves. Folk-Country peaked at #9 on the Billboard country album chart.

Folk Country is chapter number one in the Waylon Jennings/Chet Atkins partnership that ended up as a series of pitched battles. Folk Country is Waylon’s true debut album for the RCA label, and while it is very much embryonic in terms of its revelation of the mature Jennings sound, its roots are clearly audible and the material, while safe, is more than satisfying. The single “Stop the World (And Let Me Off)” is indicative of the kind of countrypolitan fare Atkins was developing at the label. And while this is only 1963, the listener can hear Jennings stretching the song to its limits – at least the limits imposed by a mainstream country single. Also included is a true folk/country song, the traditional “Man of Constant Sorrow,” on which the song’s hillbilly roots are given a distinctly modern folk sound treatment. Also, “Cindy of New Orleans,” one of Jennings’ first attempts at writing story-songs, is a curio that works very well as a narrative with a fine and memorable melody, dressed in trappings of silk around a tale of grit. Jennings was still leaning heavily on the songs of Harlan Howard, who has no less than four tunes present here, including the classics “Another Bridge to Burn” and “What’s Left of Me,” which open and close the set. Jennings treats the country songs as modern folk songs while keeping to the middle of the road, and the folk songs, if indeed there are any aside from the aforementioned traditional number, are treated in a striking progressive country fashion without allowing the entirety of the songs or their intents to slip away into the ether. While it’s true this is “straighter” than any Jennings date on the label, its songs have aged amazingly well.

Tracklist:
01 – Another Bridge to Burn
02 – Stop the World (And Let Me Off)
03 – Cindy of New Orleans
04 – Look into My Teardrops
05 – Down Came the World
06 – I Don’t Mind
07 – Just for You
08 – Now Everybody Knows
09 – That’s the Chance I’ll Have to Take
10 – What Makes a Man Wander
11 – I’m a Man of Constant Sorrow
12 – What’s Left of Me

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