The Legacy X2
series can often be a crapshoot: sometimes two classic albums are packaged together, sometimes one is a dud, and at other times albums from two different periods in an artist's career will be side by side. Ultimately, it's all about clearing inventory off the shelves. In this case, two of Waylon Jennings' most critically acclaimed and aesthetically satisfying albums are placed side by side, 1973's Honky Tonk Heroes
and 1978's Waylon & Willie
. The former set features a number of tunes written by Billy Joe Shaver that would become staples in Jennings' live shows, particularly the title track and "Ride Me Down Easy." That said, there isn't a weak moment here, and one of the non-Shaver tunes, Donnie Fritts
' "We Had It All," was a smash. The latter set is the record that brought to roost worldwide the famed 1970s outlaw movement and set the already successful careers of Jennings and Willie Nelson into hyperdrive. For Jennings this lasted only a few years, but this album was the place where Nelson began in earnest his climb to superstardom, not only in the country genre but in the pop market as well. Nelson had been on the scene in Nashville for a long time, but it wasn't until he returned home to his native Texas that he became an institution. The enduring single from this album was the duet "Mammas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys." This track, despite the presence of others that are superior, has become the standard-bearer for 1970s outlaw country. Both of these discs are the remastered versions and both contain bonus tracks, making them fine picks for either a novice or a seasoned fan.