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Waylon Jennings & the .357s: Waylon Forever

With his final works in the American Recordings series, Johnny Cash had some of his biggest commercial and critical success, setting the bar ridiculously high for departed country singers. On Waylon Forever, billed as the country outlaw's final record, Jennings doesn't come close to Cash — although the album does have a few great moments among its eight songs. Jennings, who died in 2002, recorded the album with his son Shooter, who rehashed favorites like "Ain't Livin' Long Like This" and Cream's "White Room" using his father's distinctive voice and his own backing band, The .357s, in a pool-house studio. A gravelly adaptation of "Jack of Diamonds" kicks things off, and the ominous ballad "Outlaw Shit," accentuated with feedback and a forlorn pedal steel, really sets the album's tone. The track's been released before, but this version is the definitive one, produced perfectly and with potent vocals. The other reason to listen is "I Found the Body," an unreleased Jennings tune with a Neil Young and Crazy Horse vibe, complete with spacey guitars and haunting lyrics. So although Waylon Forever isn't the kind of send-off that'll do much to enhance Jennings's legacy, it certainly won't do anything to tarnish it either.

 
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