Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney
When you listen to this concert, taped in 1983 at the Opryland in Nashville, Tennessee, you hear in Waylon Jennings those long nights of drinking and smoking. There are the long days of drinking and smoking too, which moved right on in to those nights and they might have been the very catalyst for the so-called outlaw's genius songwriting and un-fussy performances. His banter, on this night at Opryland, is cool and not at all calculated. He was relatable and country charming - just that good old boy that he was. It's what his fans and his friends came to expect out of the man and he always delivered.
He was that reliable good old boy, who always looked like he needed a nap, but was happy forgoing sleep for the party and for the brotherhood. He sings here about the lunacy involved with the latching onto the idea of the outlaw movement, as if something changed, as if it were being created and not just the way things were done, the way those guys had always been and would always be. "Don't You Think This Outlaw Bit's Done Got Out Of Hand?" is a song that attempts to playfully skewer the notion that there's anything particularly interesting about what he and his friends do, aside from them writing some of the most defining country songs of all time. They didn't need a new label to describe them, just the same respect and appreciation that Hank Williams and all of the other old boys used to have.
They were a new breed of the old standard, not some freakish new species, as they were being called. The New York posse came to find them in all their watering holes, even when they thought they were just being themselves - men being men, like their daddies done were. Jennings sang, "Was it singin' through the nose that got me busted by the man?" They were marked men, for doing nothing other than what came naturally to them.
Waylon Jennings Official Site