Throwback Thursday – Jerry Jeff Walker – Ridin’ High
1. If there is one thing of emphasized throughout Jerry Jeff Walker’s music, it is the importance having a good time. Though he is probably best known for his Viva Terlingua live record (and its recording of Ray Wylie Hubbard’s “Up Against the Wall, Redneck Mother”), 1975’s Ridin’ High might be the best representation of his freewheeling style. Recorded live in the studio, Walker’s underrated Lost Gonzo Band provides an unmistakably boozy sound, epitomizing the carefree lifestyle that ran through Austin in the 70’s. Part cowboy, part hippie, and full time philosopher, Walker and his band created a record that still evokes the same feeling today.
2. “Public Domain” (written by Gonzo members Bob Livingston and Gary P. Nunn) sets the tone for the record in both sound and lyrics. A wheezing mix of saxophone, dobro and group vocals surrounds Walker’s assertion that all music is public domain – and that “your policies will kill you.” Strong words from a songwriter, but knowing Walker’s attitude, his stance is not too surprising. Seguing into a hard-charging version of Willie Nelson’s “Pick Up The Tempo”, the song reads almost as a self-critique of Ridin’ High, though not quite as curiously as “Pissing in the Wind”, which finds Walker and his ne’er-do-well bunch of friends wondering if he “should have ever put the record out at all”.