The level of freedom and autonomy that is taken for granted by today's contemporary Country music artists - a world of independent production deals, self-styled recording and publishing arrangements, and other advantages enjoyed by pop acts for a decade before their C&W counterparts caught up - owes an eternal debt to Waylon Jennings
, the original Nashville Rebel.
His one-man mutiny of 1972-73 (later joined by Willie Nelson
and others), against the assembly line establishment that reigned in Nashville for a quarter-century, was a successful coup that liberated and revitalized Country music to this very day.
Waylon's saga continues with a new round of video and audio collections, beginning with "Never Say Die: The Final Concert Film." This three-disc set chronicles the historic concerts at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium in January 2000 -- an event that brought his reunited legendary Waymore Blues Band back to Music City for one last all-star farewell tribute show in Waylon's honor, with special guest appearances by his wife Jessi Colter
(on four songs), John Anderson
, Montgomery Gentry
, and Travis Tritt
The "Never Say Die" package premieres the full-length concert DVD (approximately two hours), 22 performances in stereo and 5.1 mixes; plus an exclusive 30-minute featurette with never-before-seen rehearsal footage and interviews conducted in 2000 with Waylon, Jessi, Bobby Bare
, Kris Kristofferson
, Willie Nelson, Chet Atkins
, Richie Albright and others.
In addition, the full-length concert is presented on two CDs with eight previously unreleased tracks. This three-disc edition will arrive in stores July 24th on Columbia/Legacy, a division of SONY BMG Music Entertainment.
Arriving in stores on the same date, on RLG Nashville/Legacy, is "The Essential Waylon Jennings," a 42-song two-CD collection co-produced by Waylon's son, Shooter Jennings
, that spans his career from 1964 to 1987, among them a dozen #1 Country hits and another 14 that reached the Top 10.
With the exception of the opening track ("Big Mamou," recorded at JD's night club in Phoenix) and closing track ("Rose In Paradise," his final #1 single, on MCA), the balance of the 40 songs celebrate Waylon's two decades on RCA Victor Records - one of the longest (and stormiest), most productive (and most combative), most gratifying (and most often frustrating), and most talked- about partnerships in Country music history.