LOS ANGELES — Country outlaw Waylon Jennings was working on a new batch of recordings right before he died 10 years ago, and those sessions are at the heart of a final studio collection to be released in September, “Goin’ Down Rockin’: The Last Recordings of Waylon Jennings.”
In the studio, he had been working with longtime bassist Robby Turner, but they had recorded only Jennings’ vocals and guitar, and Turner’s bass, with plans to flesh them out with additional instrumentation. Jennings died Feb. 13, 2002, at age 64 of diabetes.
Recently Turner went back to those recordings and brought in former Jennings cohorts — guitarist Reggie Young, drummer Richie Albright and singer, songwriter and Jennings’ former tourmate Tony Joe White — to add the sounds Jennings and Turner originally discussed.
Of the dozen songs on “Goin’ Down Rockin’,” 11 were written by Jennings, the 12th song being White’s title track. The recordings, slated for release on Sept. 11, have never previously been available to the public.
“Waylon knows he’s surrounded by friends and all that hear this will feel as if they know Waylon in all his authenticity,” said his widow, singer-songwriter Jessi Colter, in a statement with the news of the album’s release.
“To me, this is classic Waylon music every bit as good as his ‘70s classics, but his singing bears a vulnerable and deeply personal touch,” said Mike Jason, senior vice president of retail at Saguaro Road Records, which is putting out the album in conjunction with Time Life Records. “Waylon still has many fans, but with these recordings I’m confident that we’ll introduce him to a new generation in the same way that Johnny Cash’s last recordings found him an entirely new audience.”