Waylon Jennings – I’ve Always Been Crazy

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  • An original RCA Victor pressing with outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound on both sides – remarkably quiet vinyl too
  • You won’t believe how natural, rich, tonally correct and Tubey Magical this copy is – until you play it, of course
  • Waylon Jennings’ albums were not made for audiophiles, and many of them in our experience don’t sound very good, so it came as a welcome surprise that this recording from 1978 had just the kind of vintage analog sound we look for
  • 4 stars: “… a solid recording, still possessing the piss and vinegar of Jennings’ best work… necessary for any fan of outlaw country in general and Jennings in particular.”

This vintage RCA Victor pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records can barely BEGIN to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn’t showing signs of coming back. If you love hearing INTO a recording, actually being able to “see” the performers, and feeling as if you are sitting in the studio with the band, this is the record for you. It’s what vintage all analog recordings are known for — this sound.

If you exclusively play modern repressings of vintage recordings, I can say without fear of contradiction that you have never heard this kind of sound on vinyl. Old records have it — not often, and certainly not always — but maybe one out of a hundred new records do, and those are some pretty long odds.

What The Best Sides Of I’ve Always Been Crazy Have To Offer Is Not Hard To Hear

  • The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
  • The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl pressings offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in 1978
  • Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
  • Natural tonality in the midrange — with all the instruments having the correct timbre
  • Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional studio space

No doubt there’s more but we hope that should do for now. Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the qualities we discuss above, and playing the best pressings against a pile of other copies under rigorously controlled conditions is the only way to find a pressing that sounds as good as this one does.

What We’re Listening For On I’ve Always Been Crazy

  • Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
  • Then: presence and immediacy. The vocals aren’t “back there” somewhere, lost in the mix. They’re front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt would put them.
  • The Big Sound comes next — wall to wall, lots of depth, huge space, three-dimensionality, all that sort of thing.
  • Then transient information — fast, clear, sharp attacks, not the smear and thickness so common to these LPs.
  • Tight punchy bass — which ties in with good transient information, also the issue of frequency extension further down.
  • Next: transparency — the quality that allows you to hear deep into the soundfield, showing you the space and air around all the instruments.
  • Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing — an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.

TRACK LISTING

Side One

I’ve Always Been Crazy
Don’t You Think This Outlaw Bit’s Done Got Out Of Hand
Billy
A Long Time Ago
As The ‘Billy World Turns

Side Two

Medley Of Buddy Holly Hits:
Well All Right
It’s So Easy
Maybe Baby
Peggy Sue
I Walk The Line
Tonight The Bottle Let Me Down
Girl I Can Tell (You’re Trying To Work It Out)
Whistlers And Jugglers

AMG 4 Star Review

By 1978 Waylon Jennings had been through the wringer with his position as one of the most visible “outlaw” country stars: he’d been busted for drugs and was addicted to both cocaine and alcohol and was tired of the hype surrounding Nashville’s co-opting what he, Willie Nelson, and a handful of others started in the name of greater artistic control.

I’ve Always Been Crazy is his first “political” statement about his feelings. And while it may not be as great an album as Ol’ Waylon or Dreaming My Dreams, it’s still a fine one. With a cast of players that includes the great Tony Joe White, Ralph Mooney, Carter Robertson, Reggie Young, and Bee Spears, the band assembled here smokes. In addition to the title track, this set also features the classic “Don’t You Think This Outlaw Bit’s Done Got Outta Hand.”

But even though these two cuts would have been worth the purchase of the album, the rest is nothing to dismiss. There are fine covers of a medley of Buddy Holly hits, a poignant, barely disguised ode to old friend and rambling mate Billy Joe Shaver, the glorious “A Long Time Ago,” and the outlaw shuffle “As the ‘Billy World Turns.” There are also fine, heartfelt covers of Merle Haggard’s “Tonight the Bottle Let Me Down” and Johnny Cash’s “I Walk the Line.” The set closes with a pair of ballads, which is uncharacteristic of Jennings during this period; there’s “Girl I Can Tell (You’re Trying to Work It Out),” with its folk song melody and country music bridge. And finally, the four-and-a-half-minute “Whistlers and Jugglers,” a broken love song by Shel Silverstein that talks of surrender and loss so poignant and sharp, it numbers among Jennings’ finer performances of the late ’70s.

In all, I’ve Always Been Crazy is a solid recording, still possessing the piss and vinegar of Jennings’ best work with a deeper lyrical edge on most tracks. In fact, despite its obvious origins, the Holly medley is the only thing that keeps the album from being as stellar as the aforementioned ones. Nonetheless, this is necessary for any fan of outlaw country in general and Jennings in particular.

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