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Gypsy Songman

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iTunes Review

Gypsy Songman isn’t so much a retrospective as an opportunity to accompany Jerry Jeff Walker as he tours his life. Buoyed by plinking piano and spry mandolin, “Gypsy Songman,” “Pass It On,” “Got Lucky Last Night," and “Driftin’ Way of Life” are the result of Walker’s peculiar blend of bluegrass and Old West saloon music. He later grew into the Texas phase: “Railroad Lady,” “Hill Country Rain,” and “Jaded Lover,” which perfect his inimitable mix of sweetness and gristle. Because many of these versions are quite faithful to the original tracks, some fans seeking the original recording of “Mr. Bojangles” could be confused. It didn’t help that in 1999 Walker released an autobiography called Gypsy Songman and yet another compilation of rerecordings of his classic songs—again under the same title. Fans should appreciate the 1986 Gypsy Songman for what it is: an invitation to sit with Walker in a relaxed and nostalgic setting, delivering his old songs as though he and the band were set up in your living room.

Customer Reviews

Gypsy Songman

For a fusion of poetry and music, Jerry Jeff Walker has few equals and Gypsy Songman is terrific. Like fine wine, Jerry Jeff gets better as he grows older.


Born: March 16, 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...
Full Bio

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