Black Music Matters Festival

Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson

Waylon & Willie – 2001 (Buddha)

Reviewed by Tom Netherland

CDs by Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson

Cut to 1978. "Star Wars," Jimmy Carter and disco captivated America. Yet on country's side of the fence, Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson dominated. The charts, album and concert sales. They simply soared. In part thanks to this 1978 classic. As with 1982's "WWII," only 5 of 11 songs are duets, thanks to contractual obligations (Waylon recorded for RCA, Willie for Columbia). Yet unlike "WWII," this one wins. Why? Superior songs such as Kris Kristofferson's "Don't Cuss the Fiddle," outstanding performances and an overall loose feel that suited them both well.

As with their smash "Mammas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys," Waylon and Willie waltz along to a devil-may-care outlaw way that helped make 'em stars. Beyond that all-time classic, snug within the album lie several underground classics. Take "I Can Get Off On You." Full of humor that plays on the pair's drug-diggin' ways, it stands out on a standout album.

Add to that Waylon's stellar "The Wurlitzer Prize (I Don't Want to Get Over You)," Willie's 1973 performance of "It's Not Supposed to be That Way" and the duo's "Pick up the Tempo," and you have an album that holds up 23 years after its initial release.