Jerry Jeff Walker is a New Yorker by birth, but you'd never know it when seeing him perform on stage. Walker, who relocated to Austin, Texas, eight years before this recording was made, exuded the aura of the Lone Star State in both his music and his mannerisms. Dubbed the "Jimmy Buffet of Texas," Jerry Jeff Walker has maintained the credo: "Here's my world and welcome to it; let's make the best of the situation at hand." Songs like "Pick up the Tempo," and "Contrary to Ordinary" tell the stories of common folks living each day "as it comes and it goes," as the lyrics in "Getting By" state.
Those aforementioned songs, and other gems such as "Mr. Bojangles," "Up Against the Wall Red Neck Mother," and "Sangria Wine," make this the best of all the Walker shows captured for either the King Biscuit Flower Hour or the Silver Eagle Cross Country Radio Concert Series.
Jerry Jeff Walker
is an American songsmith from Texas that has gained recognition as an innovative part of both the folk and country-rock scenes. He is perhaps best known for the widely-covered song "Mr. Bojangles." While the song is widely thought to be an ode to Harlem dancer Bill Robinson, many argue that Walker was writing about a drunken street performer in New Orleans. This show was recorded live at the Bottom Line in December, 1978, and features Walker with a band that is comfortable playing everything from Western swing to straight-up Texan rock 'n' roll.
Walker was born in upstate New York and moved to New York City's Greenwich Village in the mid-1960s. He recorded two albums on Vanguard Records as part of a folk-rock band called Circus Maximus. After they disbanded in 1968, he signed to Atco Records, but saw little commercial success. In 1970 he moved to Austin, Texas, where he found his true musical home. Along with Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash and others, he spearheaded the "outlaw" country music movement. It was also during this time that The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band enjoyed a top-10 hit with their version of his song, "Mr. Bojangles."
Walker never recorded a huge hit himself, but he did record a number of gold albums with his backing group, The Lost Gonzo Band. He named himself "The Gypsy Songman," and has remained a steady recording and touring act with a very loyal cult following.