Jerry Jeff has left the building
October 24, 2020 7:21 AM   Subscribe

One of the great ones has passed: Jerry Jeff Walker, the man who invented Luckenbach and Jimmy Buffet, has left us. I can't do justice to his work, or his influence; but Kinky Friedman thought he was a national treasure, he was Todd Snider's muse, and he wrote Mr. Bojangles. Live on Austin City Limits in 1979 is a good slice-of-life; there's plenty more to find after.
posted by BReed (45 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
 
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posted by badbobbycase at 7:44 AM on October 24, 2020


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posted by Zedcaster at 7:49 AM on October 24, 2020


Live your life as if it's a Jerry Jeff song
posted by NoMich at 7:52 AM on October 24, 2020 [1 favorite]


. My high school friends and I loved to sing along with Jerry Jeff on London Homesick Blues. Such sweet memories.
posted by kbar1 at 7:55 AM on October 24, 2020 [1 favorite]


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posted by valkane at 7:56 AM on October 24, 2020




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posted by PugAchev at 8:05 AM on October 24, 2020


Time for a double-shot of "Gettin' By" and "Pissin' in the Wind."
posted by saintjoe at 8:34 AM on October 24, 2020 [2 favorites]


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posted by blob at 8:43 AM on October 24, 2020


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posted by Ranucci at 8:51 AM on October 24, 2020


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posted by superna at 9:01 AM on October 24, 2020


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posted by jim in austin at 9:05 AM on October 24, 2020


Met him quite a few times. My band regularly opened for him at the Broken Spoke back in the day. He was a nice guy as well as a great entertainer. RIP.

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posted by spitbull at 9:08 AM on October 24, 2020 [11 favorites]


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posted by Lyme Drop at 9:24 AM on October 24, 2020


Dammit.

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posted by notsnot at 9:25 AM on October 24, 2020


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posted by Thorzdad at 9:40 AM on October 24, 2020


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posted by Silverstone at 9:40 AM on October 24, 2020


Hill Country Rain
posted by hap_hazard at 10:00 AM on October 24, 2020


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posted by Going To Maine at 10:09 AM on October 24, 2020


Awww. One of my weirdest college experiences was working for a caterer at a debutant party in the TX Hill Country. They had somehow hired Jerry Jeff, and he seemed absolutely miserable. Played what the contract presumably required down to the minute and left. I probably have the tape somewhere.
posted by nixxon at 10:21 AM on October 24, 2020 [5 favorites]


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posted by jabo at 10:24 AM on October 24, 2020


Morning Song to Sally
posted by hydropsyche at 10:30 AM on October 24, 2020 [1 favorite]


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posted by JoeXIII007 at 10:38 AM on October 24, 2020


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posted by jeffamaphone at 11:18 AM on October 24, 2020


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posted by TheCoug at 12:10 PM on October 24, 2020


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posted by evilDoug at 12:41 PM on October 24, 2020


He invented Jimmy Buffett?
posted by Don.Kinsayder at 1:04 PM on October 24, 2020 [1 favorite]


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posted by pt68 at 1:12 PM on October 24, 2020


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posted by penguinicity at 1:18 PM on October 24, 2020


He invented Jimmy Buffett?

According to "How Jimmy Buffett's "Margaritaville" Became the Most Valuable Song of All Time" Buffett started writing the song in Austin and finished it in Key West. Walker brought Buffett to Key West in 1971. Buffett kicked around Austin for while and found a few members of the Coral Reefer Band there. Buffett even played Willie Nelson's inaugural 4th of July Picnic in 1974 at Texas World Speedway.

Who knew?
posted by Ranucci at 1:28 PM on October 24, 2020 [1 favorite]


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Jerry Jeff always had the best train songs.
posted by vorpal bunny at 2:19 PM on October 24, 2020 [1 favorite]


I was working on a very long FPP about Jerry Jeff Walker I was going to call “When Gonzo Country met the Texas Literary Outlaws” but have cut it down to a long comment for here after consulting with the MeFi Powers-That-Be (thanks for the advice):

How did a former folkie from New York state adopt the "gonzo" ethos? Simple -- he wound up in Austin as part of the Outlaw Country movement and became friends with some hard-drinking, fun-loving Texas writers who would later be celebrated as Texas Literary Outlaws.

After making his home in Austin in 1971, Walker became a friend of Texas writers Bud Shrake (previously) and Gary Cartwright. Walker was developing his Gonzo Country ethos at the same time that Shrake and Cartwright were at the forefront of their own “outlaw" movement: a group of Texas-based writers, musicians, and artists who called themselves “Mad Dog" including Shrake, Cartwright, Larry L. King (“The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas"), Billy Lee Brammer (The Gay Place), Dan Jenkins (Semi-Tough), and Peter Gent (North Dallas Forty). Other members of the Mad Dog group included labor lawyer David Richards and his then-wife Ann Richards.

Walker was part of Shrake and Cartwright’s fake circus acrobatic trio, the Flying Punzars. They performed disastrously incompetent stunts at banquets, parties, and other events they were not always invited to. The Punzars would occasionally break into Ann and David Richards’ home in the middle of the night to attempt to perform their infamous “Triple Flip" in the Richardses’ bedroom. During a visit to Austin by noted consumer of intoxicants Hunter S. Thompson, the Mad Dogs and Thompson embarked on a multi-day drinking binge that saw Cartwright fall out after about 27 hours, Thompson about 10-12 hours later and Shrake and Walker still on the town on the morning of the fourth day.

Shrake, who passed away in 2009, and Cartwright, who passed away in 2017, were both buried at the Texas State Cemetery in Austin. Walker performed “Dare of an Angel" at both Shrake’s and Cartwright’s graveside services.

In 2017, Walker donated his archives, including more than 100 boxes of materials featuring master tapes, photographs, hand-written lyrics and other artifacts, to the Wittliff Collections at Texas State University. (Brammer, Cartwright, King, and Shrake also donated their archives to the Wittliff Collections.)
posted by Ranucci at 4:35 PM on October 24, 2020 [17 favorites]


So this is all I know of Jerry Jeff Walker, but it's a favorite: Navajo Rug

Sorry to hear of his passing.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 5:23 PM on October 24, 2020 [1 favorite]


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posted by filtergik at 4:02 AM on October 25, 2020



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Jerry Jeff always had the best train songs.


He Was born in and grew up in Oneonta, N.Y., when it was still a major railroad town.

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posted by jgirl at 6:04 AM on October 25, 2020


Aw no. I loved this guy’s music.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 8:20 AM on October 25, 2020


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posted by allthinky at 9:46 AM on October 25, 2020


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posted by tommasz at 12:00 PM on October 25, 2020


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posted by eye of newt at 12:54 PM on October 25, 2020


I first heard of him from a joke told by Townes Van Zandt on "Live at the Old Quarter". The album is probably the most important one made in the history of what would become alt-country, and is worth a listen. The joke's funny too. JJW was a brilliant songwriter in his won right and a heck of a character. Texas Monthly has a great old article about Austin's music scene around Willie Nelson which is worth a look as well. Man this has been a crap year.
posted by hilberseimer at 3:54 PM on October 25, 2020


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posted by Lynsey at 4:23 PM on October 25, 2020


One by one, down that dark road. It's getting closer and closer to me, comes clear there's no getting around it -- since I hit 60 it's just been a real bastard. Walker was just so much fun, so filled with life, with humor, that smile of his.

Another great one down.

Damnit.

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posted by dancestoblue at 7:33 PM on October 25, 2020


aw hell
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posted by a humble nudibranch at 9:11 PM on October 25, 2020


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posted by rhiannonstone at 11:19 PM on October 25, 2020


this has been a rough year for independent country music. John Prine, Mac Davis (Elvis: A Little Less Conversation, In the Ghetto) and now Jerry Jeff Walker. Willie Nelson better watch out.

The album version is posted above, but the rockin' version has a fully different feel.
"If I leave, I'm leaving nothing behind, I'm tasting every single grape on the vine" Right on!
Hill Country Rain rockin' version

Life on the Road is probably the most honest song about being in a touring band.
Life on the Road

Sangria Wine is the drunkest recorded-sounding song I've ever heard, far besting anything the Replacements or Guns N Roses ever put out that I've heard.

Finally Up Against the Wall Redneck Mother , somehow made famous by Jerry Jeff, was written by Ray Wylie Hubbard, who wrote it after (possibly) getting assaulted by some 'rednecks', but the song itself takes it's concept from a 1968 song by David Peel Up Against the Wall , which was what police always said to protestors.
posted by The_Vegetables at 7:55 AM on October 26, 2020


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