Waylon Jennings – Nashville Rebel


Nashville Rebel is the third studio album by American country music artist Waylon Jennings, released in December 1966 via RCA Victor. It reached #4 on the Billboard country albums chart.


After recording two albums for RCA Victor, Jennings was cast in the Jay Sheridan film Nashville Rebel. In the authorized video documentary Renegade Outlaw Legend, Jennings recalled, “I went and auditioned for that and I thought I was terrible. But I was the one they wanted…I don’t know how in the world I did it ’cause I was out of it [on pills] most of the time.” The album includes a cover of The Beatles‘ “Norwegian Wood” from Rubber Soul (1965), although it was not featured in the movie. Jennings later recalled, “Chet [Atkins, Jennings’ record producer] came up with the left-field idea of doing a version of The Beatles’ ‘Norwegian Wood.’ It was this kind of unpredictability that endeared Chet to me. He loved those Beatles tunes, and I did too.”[1] It also features several songs written by Harlan Howard, and Jennings would record a full album of Howard’s songs on his next LP. The Howard-written “Green River” was released as a single and peaked at #11 on the charts. When the album was released, it was listed as “Reprocessed Stereo” (an electronic technique applied to monophonic recordings in order to create a simulated “stereophonic” effect) although most of the songs on side one (except “I’m A Long Way From Home”) are indeed true stereo. “Norwegian Wood” wasn’t issued in true stereo until 1999, but the five movie instrumental tracks (tracks 8-12) have never been available in true stereo anywhere. Tom Jurek of AllMusic writes: “While the title of the album may be prophetic in terms of the radical changes in Waylon Jennings’ career around 1971, the music found here is anything but. While Jennings brought seven of the 12 songs to these sessions, and starred in the film, the soundtrack feels and sounds dated and overwrought – mostly from a production point of view.”

Shooter Jennings performed, in portrayal of his father, “I’m a Long Way from Home” for the soundtrack to the Johnny Cash biopic Walk the Line in 2005.