Waylon Jennings’ live performances were often blistering sets of stripped-down honky-tonk music that reflected both his fast-living lifestyle from the 1960s to the 1980s and later, after he was clean, helped retain his image as the tough-talking take-no-shit-from-nobody outlaw. When comparing live recordings and concert footage to his studio albums and lyric sheets, there is a discernible pattern wherein Jennings regularly cuts off the last verse of a song, sometimes substituting an extra chorus, but just as often heading into a crescendo of him and the Waylors trading licks. While there may be some truth to the idea that a performer tires of “greatest hits” material and longs for a different kind of engagement with the audience, there is evidence that Jennings’ editing of the songs was purposeful because it is consistent in several performances of the same song in a variety of settings over a course of three decades and the “spontaneous” moments are often repeated so as to appear rehearsed to a viewer or listener who takes in more than one of his “live” performances. For all of his efforts to remain a simple working-class guy who happened to make good, Jennings was an astute and sophisticated performer well aware of his audience and its expectations of him.
|Keywords:||Waylon Jennings, Live Performance, Country Music, Manuscripts, Video, Popular Culture, Sexuality|
Doctoral Candidate, Department of Interdisciplinary Humanities, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida, USA
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