Jerry Jeff Walker

Walker's Collectibles/Ridin High... Plus

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Australia's Raven Records releases another entry in its Jerry Jeff Walker reissue program, featuring his third and fourth albums for MCA, Walker's Collectibles and Ridin' High, on two discs with bonus cuts. Walker's Collectibles was recorded in Austin. It followed the live Viva Terlingua. Walker wrote six of the album's ten tracks, the Lost Gonzo Band's Gary P. Nunn wrote two more, Billy Callery and David Cohen offered up one each. Walker's Collectibles is mostly an uptempo, good-time Texas songwriter record. Highlights include "Salvation Army Band," the outlaw love song "She Left Me Holdin'," the long, moving ballad "My Old Man," and the wild Dixieland ride of "I Like to Sleep Late in the Morning." The album's true high point is Walker's version of "Well of the Blues" by Nunn. Ridin' High is among Walker's best recordings -- and to be honest, he could do no wrong between 1972 and 1976. This set was recorded in Nashville, with the Gonzos augmented by session aces like David Briggs, Kenny Buttrey, Johnny Gimble, and more. It's a slicker record, but that doesn't hinder anything. It includes only two Walker originals, "I Love You," written for his then-new wife Susan, and one of his signature songs, the Texas beerhall standard "Pissin' in the Wind." Willie Nelson contributed another set highlight in "Pick Up the Tempo." The Gonzos contributed a few fine tracks as well: Bob Livingstone's and Nunn's "Public Domain" and John Inmon's "Goodbye Easy Street." As fine as all of these songs are, there are two bona fide classics here: Walker's signature version of Guy Clark's "Like a Coat from the Cold" and Jesse Winchester's "Mississippi You're on My Mind." This double-disc set also contains six bonus cuts compiled from the double album A Man Must Carry On. They include Clark's "L.A. Freeway," Bob Dylan's "One Too Many Mornings," the definitive version of Ray Wylie Hubbard's outlaw anthem "Up Against the Wall Redneck Mother," and "Will the Circle Be Unbroken." The liner notes are serviceable, but the remastered sound is terrific. Hopefully, the never-issued-on-CD It's a Good Night for Singin' is next.

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