Are You Ready for the Country and What Goes Around Comes Around aren't necessarily the most logical choice for a two-fer, since they are separated by three years and four albums (counting the Waylon & Willie duet album in 1978). Nevertheless, they're two classic albums from Waylon's commercial peak of the late '70s that had yet to appear in any form on CD when BMG UK/Camden Deluxe released this two-fer in the spring of 2003. There's just enough time separating these two records for even casual listeners to notice the difference between the two records. On 1976's Are You Ready, Jennings' creative peak is starting to draw to a close, and while it's a little uneven, it's wholly enjoyable, with cuts like "Are You Ready for the Country" and "Can't You See" ranking among his absolute best sides of the decade. In contrast, 1979's What Goes Around certainly arrives after his creative peak -- he's no longer innovating, he's found his style and settled into it -- but it arguably gels better, providing a solid set of polished outlaw material that may only produce one undeniable classic in "I Ain't Living Long Like This" but nevertheless is quite entertaining on a song-by-song basis, with Waylon's choice of covers revealing the adventurous spirit that the streamlined production sometimes glosses over. Perhaps 1977's Ol' Waylon -- which followed the same spirit of Are You Ready but did it better -- would have been a better pair for the 1976 release, and perhaps 1978's I've Always Been Crazy would have been a good companion for What Goes Around, since it would have showcased the 1979 album better, but it's hard to complain since these albums are long overdue for a CD reissue and it's a treat to have them out, regardless of the form.
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine