In the summer of 1964, Waylon Jennings began a residency at JDs, a new two-story club in Scottsdale, AZ. He had been in Arizona playing for some time, gigging and DJing shortly after the death of Buddy Holly, but his time at JDs was pivotal, since it's where he developed his musical voice and began to establish himself as a solo star in his own right. A few short months after he began playing JDs, he went into Audio Recorders in Phoenix and cut two sessions that resulted in an independent album, JD's Presents Waylon Jennings, which was available at JDs and in area record stores. This was not a live album, but it did capture the wide-ranging nature of his live performances of the time. He relied heavily on folk and country, adding a little bit of rock, blues, rockabilly, and R&B to the mix. All of this was captured on the album, which is easily one of the most valuable and interesting items in Jennings' catalog. Bear Family reissued the album as part of their splendid, exhaustive six-disc box The Journey: Destiny's Child, but a year later, the label issued The Restless Kid - Live at JDs. This disc is not JDs Presents Waylon Jennings. Instead, it's a compilation that contains six previously unreleased cuts from those sessions (they aren't on the box set, either), then, best of all, a live performance of Wayon Jennings & the Waylors circa 1965. Understandably, the recording is a little rough, demanding close attention from the listener, but it's worthwhile for the dedicated. Restless Kid doesn't necessarily provide revelations, since it's well known what Jennings was playing during this period as he etched out his signature "folk-country," but it does add some color and texture to this period, illustrating how comfortable Jennings was with such a broad variety of material. If there are any surprises here, it's that much of the set list is very low key and leans heavily on folk songs, including cowboy songs, making the Waylors sound like disciples of the Kingston Trio. The only time the tempo really picks up is for kicking versions of "Candy Man" and "Memphis, Tennessee," which is further proof that the folk part of the equation was more dominant than the country. And that's what's really interesting about this disc; it fleshes out and brings to life a time in Jennings' career that is often read about, but seldom heard. Of course, that means it's primarily for the dedicated fans and historians, the kind of listener that knows the arc of Waylon's career by heart, but that doesn't make The Restless Kid - Live at JDs any less a welcome addition to Jennings' catalog.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
feat: Jerry Gropp
feat: Jerry Gropp