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VINE VOICEon November 6, 2004
WANTED! THE OUTLAWS has been named the most influential country CD of all time (I'm not making that up, I just forget where I heard it). Listen to it, and understand why--every song on here, even the Waylon/Jessi version of "Suspicious Minds"--reeks of country music. This is the album--with a few tweaks, I believe--that spawned the music you listen to today. What self-respecting modern-day singer/songwriter doesn't count Willie and Waylon as influences (and most, if you question them enough, will spurt out Jessi Colter's name as well).

What makes this CD so delictable, aside from it's impressive talent credits (add in Tompall Glaser, who--through a most unfortunate twist of fate--has had his fame pale next to his partners in crime) and superb songwriting? Maybe it's its blend of styles. A pure, solid country backbone, with a rock n roll sex appeal. A honky-tonk drinkin attitude, with a love-ballad aftertaste. Waylon Jennings growls out the lyrics to Billy Joe Shaver's "Honky Tonk Heroes" with experience and subtle dignity. Jessi Coulter stands up for herself in the face of heartbreak in her own "You Mean to Say." Willie Nelson laments and celebrates his travels in "Me and Paul." Tompall Glaser (who only has two tracks here) gets bluesy on Jimmy Rodger's ramblin "T for Texas", and belts out wry irony in the Shel Silverstein ("A Boy Named Sue")-penned "Put Another Log on the Fire."

WANTED! THE OUTLAWS. If you haven't heard it yet, you must. Along with a few other CD's (Willie's RED-HEADED STRANGER and Johnny Cash's LIVE AT FOLSOM PRISON come immediately to mind), this album helped establish country music as cool. Not that country's status changed these guys (and gal) any: they continued to be outlaws long after this recording became a smash, and are still outlaws today, if only in memory. A tribute to honky tonks and never-ending love, WANTED! THE OUTLAWS is an absolutely timeless piece of true, uninhibited music.
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on November 15, 2002
Outlaws are often the stuff of country and western songs.
In the annals of popular music, this CD is a bit of an outlaws tale. After this album came out in the mid 1970's, Nashville's total dominance of Country & Western was ended. Austin Texas, a sleepy small town in the middle of the Lone Star State, became a rival center for country, blues, rock, and other music genres.
Willie & Waylon contribute most of the sound, style, and songs here. Perhaps this is to be expected, since they were already "names" at the time this CD was originally released: Waylon as a performer, Willie as a songwriter. But Jessi Colter has a great voice, and Tompall Glaser provides great instumental accompaniment as the rhythm section.
Willie and Waylon were pure gold after this, and while Jessi Colter & Tompall Glaser were not heard from much afterward, they do live on here.
Waylon Jennings had several big singles and successful concert tours after he and Willie Nelson went their separate ways. But even so, his biggest applause came when he did the tunes from this CD. Sadly, Waylon Jennings declined and was in ill health during most of the 1990's. Willie Nelson has managed to sustain a career full of comebacks -- the IRS, marijuana arrests, and an occasional flop album have all failed to stop him from becoming an (admittedly unlikely) popular folk-hero.
Like "The Weavers at Carnegie hall", which is often credited with launching a folk music revival, and the early Beatles & Stones albums which generated interested in anything that came from England, this album is often credited with the birth of "alt Country".
Because of its maverick style and content (more radical at the time than today), it has retained or obtained a status that few country and western CD's ever do: IT'S COOL.
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on March 12, 2002
I remember back in the late 70's sitting in the back of my parents car on numerous roadtrips across Texas listening to this album. Now even though I was into rock and roll at the time, this album still held my attention on those long trips. I bought my own copy a few weeks ago when I heard that Waylon had passed to that great honky tonk in the sky. Man what a great album! My boyhood memories have been coming back to me with each listen. There is not a weak track on this record, with many of them finding their way to Willie and Waylons greatest hits albums. As mentioned by earlier reviewers, Jesse Colter is the hidden gem of this album. The album includes ten new tracks that did not make the original cut, but are all strong. "Why you been gone so long" by Jesse is really outstanding. Finally, the newest track "Nowhere Road" is a Steve Earle song recorded in 1996 by Willie and Waylon (Earle produced it). All I can say is this song should be playing on country radio right now, as its better that 99.9% of all the current country tunes. Do yourself a favor and add this album to your collection. Put it on, sit back and listen, you might be able to imagine what the Austin outlaw country scene was like in the late 70's!
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VINE VOICEon March 24, 2002
Nashville's rebels and outlaws are back! Waylon and Willie's original "Outlaws" CD is titled, 20th Anniversary CD. It includes the originals, the lost songs, and the new, a total of 21. Included is Waylon's wife Jessie Colter, who I believe had a modest career of her own, her most popular, or as they say, signature song, a beautiful ballad "I'm Not Jessie"

The combined talent of Nashville rebels, Waylon and Willie was phenomenal! With different vocal styles, their teaming was a major success! Nelson's nasal sound worked well with deeper vocals of Waylon. Tompall Glaser, I can't say I had heard about him, but he does "Tea for Texas" and the catchy sexist tune by Shel Silverstein "Put Another Log on the Fire". ......fill my pipe and then go fetch my slippers and boil me up another pot of tea, then put another log on the fire and come and tell me why you're leaving me.

"Me and Paul" has always been a favorite by Willie, here his deeper voice projects. That and "Yesterday's Wine" are both written by Willie Nelson. Also included on the original LP are "Heroes have Always been Cowboys." Jessie and Waylon do their hit "Suspicious Minds." Twenty years later, a 1996 anniversary CD is a classic timepiece and includes the lost songs, these do include several more by Jessie Colter, who lends a very soothing beautiful voice to the male dominated CD. She and Waylon do "Under Your Spell."

The "new" portion stated on the CD includes rockabilly and folk singer Steve Earle's hit "Nowhere Road" done by Waylon and Willie. Steve Earle produced this anniversary CD. I love the two Willie Nelson ballads "Healing Hands" and "You Left a Long Time Ago", a very soft, mellow song about watching and losing a love. A first-rate collection, a real classic! ...Rizzo
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on February 26, 2006
Though many people feel that this was the record that marked the "beginning" of the country music "outlaw" movement, it was really the album that put the official "crown" on an "outlaw" movement that had already been going on for many years prior to 1976.

As if to prove the point, the album is a compilation of songs that were recorded as early as 1970 by these four powerful artists. Obviously, Waylon and Willie were the chief "poster-boys," but some of the prior reviews here forget that Jennings' wife, Jessi Colter, was one of the biggest selling artists in her own right, at that time. In fact, of all the four, Colter had already scored the most successful hit single with her million-selling country/pop crossover smash, "I'm Not Lisa," in spring of 1975. That same year, Colter scored two more hits that made a big impact on both country and pop lists with "What's Happened to Blue Eyes" and "You Ain't never Been Loved." Colter's debut Capitol album also went gold and her next two Capitol albums (both released in 1976, as was this Outlaws album) hit the both the country music Top 5 charts and crossed over to ride high on the pop albums list. So, Colter was as successful during that 70s period as was her hubby and Nelson.

People tend to forget her success because she pretty much quit full-time music in the early 80s to raise her and Jennings' son, "Shooter." Her success, however, during that 70s time period, was anything but "modest." The woman was one of the big-sellers when she was focused on her own career. As I write this, in fact, Jessi Colter's new album "Out of the Ashes" (her first solo album in 24 years) is currently at No. 20 on amazon.com's best-seller list. So the woman is far from "forgotten," and deserves her due props.

That being said, this album really did help define the "outlaw" movement for those who had not already been exposed to it in 1976. The key factor is that all of these artists bucked the Nashville "institution" by insisting upon full creative control in the studio, by writing their own songs and arrangements, and by delivering a raw, right-to-the-roots "sound." This is never more apparent on Jennings' and Nelson's raucous and magnificent "Good Hearted Woman" (which Jennings wrote about his own wife and fellow artist, Jessi) and on such tracks as Willie Nelson's smart-and-snarky "Me and Paul." Jessi Colter showcases her defiant and confessional style of writing with the stunning "You Mean to Say," while Tompall Glaser (the least known and least commercially successful of all the four legends), works magic on his blues-heavy anthem "T For Texas," as well as his timeless satirical song "Put Another Log on the Fire." The other truly great track on this legendary album is the duet by Jennings and Colter on Presley's "Suspicious Minds." The two of them totally make the song "their own" and give it a rocking, country-raw urgency that just can't be beat, especially as it features the unique twist of having the man's point of view and the woman's point of view. Little wonder that the song became a No. 2 country chart smash for Jennings and Colter.

This album was indeed the first 'country music' album EVER to be awarded platinum certification by the RIAA, and each of the four artists were rightfully awarded gold, and then platinum trophies for their achievement. This collection resonated with listeners who wanted to hear raw, no-nonsense, roots-infused, HONEST country music that had NOT been churned-out by the more cookie-cutter "establishment." In this sense, each of these unique artists brought their own power to the overall equation.

Jennings brought his spit-in-your-eye, Alpha-male delivery as one of America's truly great SINGERS, bar none. Nelson brought his anti-establishment songwritng and melodic /lyrical brilliance to the table. Colter brought her stark, utterly beautfiul voice and honest-as-the-day-is-long songwriting, and Glaser brought his "don't mess with me" vocal power and roots-influenced sense of humor. Basically, each one of them brought a "don't trifle with my message" attitude and artistic integrity to the record that truly flew in the face of Nashville's "play-it-safe" and crank-out-hits policy.

These four artists exemplified musical honesty in their genre. Also, I truly believe that this album was not so much pinned-down as a "country" record, but as a record of straightforward AMERICAN music. It's held-up well over the years, and the RCA "x-tra" tracks reissue is worth it, mainly for the chance to hear more early Jennings and Colter work.

Sadly, the music world lost Jennings a few years ago to diabetes, but his legacy lives on in the work of his son, Shooter Jennings, and remarkably in the new Don Was-produced album by Jessi Colter that is causing such a stir as this review is being written. (There's a reason: the album is one of the best recordings in years by ANY artist, and buyers are encouraged to RUN, not walk, and buy the Colter "Out of the Ashes" disc).

In any event, "Wanted: The Outlaws" was the crowning achievement of the Nashville "rebel force" and all of the artists deserved it for not giving-in to the "system" and contributing material that made a great many people believe in the simple "honesty" of REAL American music again. A classic album, no matter how you look at it.
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on April 5, 2000
I remember listening to this as a kid as we hurtled down the highway in the family van while looking out for smokeys on the CB! Fantastic tunes. Couldn't get any better -- until they remastered it on CD!
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on October 5, 2005
If you don't have this CD in your collection your collection is not complete. This is the way country music is suppose to be.
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on September 14, 2015
I am a huge fan of the old country. This album is a must to the music collector that enjoys great old music, some of which hasn't hit the radio in 30 years. This is also the first album that I had listened to involving Jessi and a cool version of Suspicious Minds. I highly recommend this.
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on December 16, 2015
I bought this CD for my brother in law. All his CDs were stolen from his work truck, so I was happy to find this on Amazon, since I know he likes Waylon Jennings. So do my husband and I, so maybe we can borrow it. Great CD!
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on August 30, 2014
I lived in the area where many of these "artists" cut their musical teeth. I liked the sounds and still do. My dear husband doesn't -- so I wait until he is watching football or the news to play these -- and recall the good old days. They are still as good as they were then! If you are CW fan this is a good one!
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