Waylon Jennings-“Heartaches By The Number And Other Favorites”
The story of Waylon Jennings’ rise in country music is well known. Early on, he was taking traditional country, western swing, folk, and rock, trying to find a perfect mixture, while also battling the constraints of the Nashville establishment. He would eventually find that perfect blend, once he left Nashville for Texas, and was one of the first to show us what an awesome result could come from mixing the Allman Brothers and Hank Williams, while throwing in a little Bob Wills on the side. Waylon was a true original.
Today’s album is a 1972 release from RCA’s Camden series. Back in the day, RCA would take older recordings from it’s artists, repackage them and release them on RCA Camden, usually at discount prices; say $2, as opposed to the $5 that the new releases would command. “Heartaches By The Number And Other Country Favorites” is a somewhat uneven collection of early Waylon work, but it does present a nice overview of the aforementioned search of Jennings’ early career. The album does include a couple of his early hit singles, and is culled from Jennings’ “Leavin’ Town”, “Sings Ol’ Harlan”, and “Jewels” albums.
This album contains four tracks from the “Sings Ol’ Harlan” album of 1967. “Heartaches By The Number” and “Foolin’ Around” are decent covers of the respective Ray Price and Buck Owens hits, but he badly misses on another Buck Owens classic, “I’ve Got A Tiger By The Tail”. Meanwhile, his version of “Busted” will also please Jennings fans who might have not heard it, previously, but don’t expect a similar version to Johnny Cash. Waylon’s version has more in common with that of Ray Charles.
The 1966 “Leavin’ Town” album provided four tracks, as well, including what would be Waylon’s first top ten hit, “(That’s What You Get) For Lovin’ Me”. Of his 92 top forty country hits, this still ranks as one of my Waylon Jennings favorites; it’s easily the best song on the album. Also from that release is another Jennings hit, “Time To Bum Again”, another outstanding track from the Jennings library. “Leavin’ Town” and “You’re Gonna Wonder About Me” are both good examples of Jennings’ folk influence that was often apparent on his early discs.
The final of the nine tracks, originally appeared on the 1968 “Jewels” album, a cover of Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues”. Alright, but nothing special.
Surprisingly, this album has been available on CD, though not currently (except used), except as a package with another original Camden release, “The One And Only”. I was also a bit surprised to find several used copies of the album on Ebay, as well, most selling around $3-5, though there was a sealed copy for $15, and even an 8-track tape (can you believe it?) for around $2.
Ratings-wise, I give this album a 3 out of 5. Overall, it’s a decent album, with the highlights easily being the two hit singles. This is one of those albums that if you find it for a few cents in a garage sale or used record store, buy it. But the best thing would be to find copies of the original albums that were used to make this album.
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