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Best of the Rest, Vol. 2

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Album Review

Best of the Rest is a double-disc compilation taken form Jerry Jeff Walker's five CDs released on Tried and True, most of which were also released on Rykodisc, and these are the original versions of "Gypsy Songman," "Navajo Rug," "Hill Country Rain," the wonderful "Viva Luckenbach," and "Scamp." For Best of the Rest, Walker chose five cuts form each record: his own favorites. Fans may argue some of the picks, but having a collection picked solely by the artist who made the recordings reveals something unique, and that is where she or he sees his own strengths, and by omission, his own "weaknesses" whatever that may mean. Walker knows something about his fans wants and desires, given his constant touring. But one solid listen to the way this set rambles, winds, and reels, revealing — as his best studio recordings of the distant past do — the journey of a life spent on the hard but joyful trek of writing songs, making records, and of course performing. In his best material (and a lot of this stuff is arguably among his finest), Walker includes observations about his vocation, the people he encounters, and the simple, sometimes Bacchanalian pleasures experienced — as well as hard times looked back at philosophically and often humorously. In this way, he gives listeners an intimate, unique view of a rarefied world that they can only relate to vicariously. Best of the Rest is a fine document; it makes one miss Jerry Jeff's most active period when there was a new album or even two every year. For those who passed or didn't have the opportunity to pick up these records the first time around, this is a jewel. For the fans who have them already, it's still necessary because of the way it's assembled. As evidenced here, the old Texas rascal-poet has laid some of his most profound work in his later years. You can't count out someone like Jerry Jeff, he's a trickster who can still hear the Muse — though she may be a bit raspier now — and he still has the road dog in him chasing him enough to keep up. This makes one ache in the sweetest way, hoping JJW still has another go 'round in him to lay out another one


Born: 16 March 1942 in Oneonta, NY

Genre: Country

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Jerry Jeff Walker is strongly associated with the progressive ("outlaw") country scene that centered around Austin, TX, in the 1970s and included such figures as Willie Nelson, Guy Clark, Billy Joe Shaver, the Lost Gonzo Band, Waylon Jennings, and Townes Van Zandt. Ironically, however, Walker is not a native Texan. He was born Ronald Clyde Crosby in upstate New York and recorded his first several albums while living in New York City. He didn't move to Austin until 1971, but he's remained a major...
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Best of the Rest, Vol. 2, Jerry Jeff Walker
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