By James Calemine

Folk Country counted as Waylon Jennings’ debut RCA release. RCA wanted to lure the folk crowd, but Jennings remained country on these songs. Four of the compositions were originals, four were Harlan Howard songs and three were credited to Don Bowman.

Produced by Chet Atkins, Folk Country contained Jennings’ fitsr hit—“That’s The Chance I’ll Have To Take”. “Stop The world” retains the classic country twangs, but Jennings’ resonating voice indicates he was ascending. “Cindy of New Orleans” proved Jennings’ songwriting abilities were formidable.

“Down Came The World” is a song that contained textbook Nashville formula Jennings railed against in his later years. “I’m A Man of Constant Sorrow, another lyrical testament to Jennings’ talents, but somehow the punch gets lost in the Nashville background singers syrup. However, the seeds of greatness were planted…

Waylon Sings Ol’ Harlan was recorded in 1966. Harlan Howard, one of country’s preeminent writers, composed over 4,000 songs. Ray Price, Buck Owens, Patsy Cline, Jim Reeves and Conway Twitty were some of the musicians who scored hits from Howard’s songs.

In the liner notes of this re-issue, Jennings revealed where he was at during this time period in his career: “I was writing more and more. Harlan talked constantly about the craft. He didn’t like near rhymes. He was a craftsman. He was particularly fond of titles. Harlon thought that if you heard a song on the radio and the disc-jockey didn’t tell you who it was, you should be able to guess the title and head immediately to the nearest record store…”

In the album’s original liner notes, Howard wrote this about the rising star of Jennings: “Recently Waylon quit his job on Phoenix, Arizona, to move to Nashville and to start working shows throughout the country. And the public’s response to Waylon and the ‘Waylors’ has certainly been enthusiastic, as is seen by the success of his recordings, public appearances movies and writing. Also on the horizon for Waylon are a country TV show of his own and several movie roles.”

The highlights of this cover album include “She Called Me Baby”, “Sunset and Vine”, “The Everglades”, “Beautiful Annabel Lee”, “Heartaches By The Number” and “Tiger By The Tail”. This double re-issue reveals the early glimmers of Waylon Jennings’ bright light.