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Various Artists 

Lonesome, On'ry and Mean: A Tribute to Waylon Jennings (Dualtone)

Except for Hollywood, Nashville -- more than any other town in the world -- loves honoring people. Now, Ol' Hoss Waylon Jennings wouldn't approve of that. As a charter member of the "Outlaw" movement in country music, he chafed against the dictatorial ways of the Nashville recording mill, insisting on doing it his way or no way. But at least none of the contributors to Lonesome, On'ry and Mean are big heat in Music City (Pam Tillis, maybe). So here goes.

Most Unusual Contributor: a tie between jazz-pop songbird Norah Jones ("Wurlitzer Prize") and hard rock hero Henry Rollins (title track). Best Jennings Impression: Dave Alvin's soulful "Amanda." Biggest Surprise: No Willie Nelson (Willie's great, but his being here would be such a cliché). Artist Who Should Have Contributed but Didn't: Ray Wylie Hubbard, a true country-music outlaw. Song That Should Have Been Included but Wasn't: "You Can Have Her." Song That Never Should Have Been Included: "Storms Never Last" (Allison Moorer) -- not a Waylon song, but a Jessi Colter song (yeah, I know, she was his wife). Best Reason to Buy This CD: One listen to country-music radio will answer that.

More by Steve Byrne


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