Though the late Waylon Jennings has had numerous greatest-hits compilations, this four-disc box that encompasses almost half a century of music making is his first comprehensive, career-spanning anthology. While the 1970s and early '80s were plainly Jennings's commercial and creative heyday--when the Outlaw movement christened by his recording of "Ladies Love Outlaws" was in full swagger--highlights here extend from his 1958 revival of the Cajun classic "Jolie Blon" (produced by Jennings's mentor Buddy Holly) through his swan-song recordings with Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, and Kris Kristofferson as the Highwaymen. The trademark lope of Jennings's music and his penchant for self-mythologizing material give him a strong signature sound, but the anthology shows just how much musical territory he covered--from his folkish reading of Gordon Lightfoot's "(That's What You Get) For Lovin' Me" and his bluesy transformation of Little Richard's "Lucille" through his dips into the songbooks of Neil Young ("Are You Ready for the Country"), Jimmy Webb ("MacArthur Park"), and Los Lobos ("Will the Wolf Survive?"). The 140-page booklet provides thorough credits and annotation, as well as an abundance of photos of Waylon with friends, fellow musicians, and every famous person he ever met (from Muhammad Ali to Metallica's James Hetfield). --Don McLeese
This new 4-CD, 92-track overview captures the "straight" and "outlaw" sides of this once-in-a-generation talent, his first career-spanning boxed set! His early, Buddy Holly-produced single, Jole Blon , kicks things off, and then it's off to Nashville and superstardom with such tracks as I'm a Ramblin' Man; Dreaming My Dreams with You; Luckenbach, Texas (Back to the Basics of Love); Good Hearted Woman (with Willie Nelson); I've Always Been Crazy; Suspicious Minds (with Jessi Colter); Highwayman , and more, even an unreleased 1978 duet with Johnny Cash. A lavish book includes unseen photos and memorabilia. Definitive!