This is probably going to start an argument.
I called my old friend Bubba before wading into unadvisable water. He affirmed what was milling around in my head and even encouraged it.
So here goes.
A few weeks back there was another one of those moments when my kids discovered some of “my music.” It was Jamie. He wanted to listen to Luckenbach, Texas by Waylon Jennings. I bought the song on ITunes and we played it many times. I still remembered the words.
I’m one of those people who actually listen to the words of songs, much to the dismay of my children and some spin teachers such as my friend Laura Culver.
Listening to Waylon’s epic tune made me realize many things. The song comes off like a “love song” on first blush. In reality it is comedic relief and filled with scurrilous motives. The first clue is when Waylon croons about his (presumed) wife selling her diamond ring in favor of some boots and faded jeans.
No Texas woman is about to sell her diamond ring for anything unless it is to feed her children or bail them or herself out of jail. Jennings was obviously trying to upset his partner enough so she would chase him down the driveway with a broom until he could jump in his pickup to go pick up Willie and the boys. Back in the 70s those outlaws needed places such as Luckenbach to go smoke their weed and get away from the law. Getting arrested for having pot was a real inconvenience back then.
The song sounds wistful and quasi-romantic but it’s really about a bunch of guys getting away from their women not escaping to nirvana with them. What woman in her right mind would want to be cooped up in Luckenbach with those hoodlums?
The other Jennings comedic parody of life was the mythical Good Hearted Woman (in love with a good timin’ man). It is a song about a unicorn to be certain. His wistfulness can only be attributed to excessive drug use paired with comedic genius. No wonder he had four wives.
The (Luckenbach) song rambles on until Willie starts his part. I didn’t say singing because if you listen closely Willie really talks instead of singing. I don’t think the man can carry a tune. Willie is really a bit of a beatnik with a ponytail or if you prefer he may have been the first suburban rapper. Just a really slowly articulating rapper. His timing is off as much as his key. It is a genius perfected by people like Bob Dylan and Tom Petty but Willie makes it sound like he is actually trying to sing unlike the other two.
Don’t get me wrong; his contribution to everything Texana is irrefutable. The man just can’t sing.
He comes close in Always On My Mind. It’s probably the reason he’s teamed up with people who really can sing such as Julio Iglesias and Norah Jones but they probably agreed to do stuff with him because they knew it would make them sound better. Bubba says what Willie and Waylon were really up to was the recitation of comedic Epyllions (ala Homer or Virgil).
Who needs George Will to start a Google search for the dictionary when you have Bubba?