Collectors Choice’s 2009 two-fer combines Waylon Jennings’ 1966 de facto debut Folk Country and 1967’s Sings Ol’ Harlan. Waylon recorded for a variety of independent labels before Folk-Country, the live Waylon at JD's being the most prominent LP, but Folk Country was his great unveiling, containing his first big hit “Stop the World and Let Me Off” as well as “Look into My Teardrops.” Most of the album does indeed live up to the promise of the title, offering some sort of spin on folk-country, particularly through a reliance on 12-string guitars and lilting harmonies, as well as a cover of the standard “Man of Constant Sorrow,” but this is rooted in country, much of it coming from the pen of Harlan Howard, who writes five of the 12 songs here. Waylon gave Howard a full showcase a year later on Sings Ol’ Harlan. Jennings cherrypicks many of the hits Howard wrote for other singers -- there are two Buck Owens singles here in “I’ve Got a Tiger by the Tail” and “Foolin’ Around.” The standards “Busted” and “Heartaches by the Number” are also given strong readings -- but one of the chief appeals of this 1967 LP is that it contains a number of strong Harlan tunes that weren’t heavily recorded, including the slyly funny, rolling narrative “Sunset and Vine,” the snappy “Woman Let Me Sing You a Song,” the lean honky tonk of “She’s Gone, Gone, Gone,” and the mournful “Beautiful Annabel Lee.” Sonically, this is an extension of Folk Country, bearing much of the same mixture of 12-string guitars, Telecasters, and backing vocals, but given the source material, it’s not entirely a surprise that the LP emphasizes the country over the folk, as it suggest the direction Waylon was about to take.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine