With Waylon, Waylon Jennings was starting to show some discontent with the way things were done in Nashville. This was leading the singer/songwriter towards the ‘outlaw’ movement where he simply took creative control of his albums, just as his only producer that he’d known, Chet Atkins, was withdrawing from production duties. Waylon was fitted with Danny Davis and the two didn’t see eye to eye about how the songs could be constructed. This was also about the same time Waylon married his wife Jessi Colter. Waylon was a mixture of unreleased early recordings and some of those Danny Davis sides and featured only one hit in a remake of Chuck Berry’s “Brown Eyed Handsome Man” but the record also featured “Yes Virginia,” a song recorded in 1967 and a duet with Anita Carter, “All of Me Belongs To You.” Also recorded in 1967, the song later became a hit for Dick Curless. Other highlights on Waylon are “The Thirty Third of August” and “This Time Tomorrow (I’ll Be Gone).”
The second record featured on this two-disc is Singer of Sad Songs. Like Waylon, this record only featured one hit in Alex Zanetis’ “Singer of Sad Songs.” The record features recordings of Bill Anderson’s “Must You Throw Dirt In My Face,” and “Tom Rush’s “No Regrets.” Also featured on this record is Waylon’s version of the Rolling Stones’ classic “Honky Tonk Woman,” then a song almost as fresh as Waylon’s own cover. This record, which was NOT recorded in Nashville but instead in Los Angeles with Lee Hazelwood at the helm and Singer of Sad Songs shows an explicit ‘outlaw’ attitude brewing as the record featured a mixture of the songs mentioned above with old school R&B songs (“Sick and Tired”) and a song from 1934 in “Ragged But Right.” While not a commercial success like many of the other albums released in 1970 from Waylon, the album was an artistic success and one that holds up quite well today.
These two albums (Waylon/Singer of Sand Songs) show a man transitioning from a man working in a studio system to a man more content to work on things his own way. It would only be a short time before Waylon was working on the classic The Outlaws album with his wife Jessi Colter, Willie Nelson, & Tompall Glaser.