America • American Recordings • Bootleg • Boxed Sets • Christmas • Compilations • DuetsPlease click on CD title or image to see Songlist.
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The myth of the American West--lawless lands, resolute heroes--takes on a grave, elegiac quality on this first, and best, collaboration from Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, and Kris Kristofferson. There's little bravado here, just a sense of ticking time, of frontiers lost, cowboys singing their last songs. In the end, Highwayman works because it fuses mythic, serious material with the artists' own legendary personas and well-aged voices. Lesser lights would be lucky to muddle through Jimmy Webb's epic title track; these four cagey desperados make every fantastic image believable. If Chips Moman surrounds them with less than subtle layers of guitars, keyboards, and drums, he does update vintage progressive country in a suitably cosmic but rugged fashion. Romantic legends and production values notwithstanding, it's the tough, wise singing here that's the real draw.Price $16.95
Highwayman Super Hits
Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, and Kris Kristofferson released two albums together on Columbia Records, 1985's chart-topping Highwayman and 1990's Highwayman 2. (For the sake of convenience, the quartet itself was sometimes referred to as Highwayman or even The Highwaymen, though they were never actually billed as such.) Three songs from those albums reached the country charts, "Highwayman," "Desperados Waiting for a Train," and "Silver Stallion." So, one wishes a better title than Super Hits could have been used for this budget-priced ten-track compilation, which draws five tracks from each album. Nevertheless, the combination of the four country superstars remains amazingly comfortable, as they trade off vocals on songs such as Cash's "Big River" and even harmonize. The first album, which used standards, was superior to the second, for which new material was written, but many of the songs on the first album did not feature all four singers, so the balance of tracks from the two albums here is reasonable.Price $15.95