The Highwaymen Live – American Outlaws
The recent passing of Merle Haggard and Guy Clark is a reminder of how many great artists country music produced in the second half of the 20th century, and how few of them remain today. Clark’s timeless composition “Desperados Waiting for a Train” happens to be one of the high points of The Highwaymen Live—American Outlaws, a thoroughly winning three-CD, one-DVD collection. Chronicling live performances of the ’80s and ’90s supergroup teaming four other giants, two now deceased (Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings) and two still making music (Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson), this feel-good set is comfort food of the highest caliber. Even if you know the work of each man well, it’s startling to realize how many absolute classics they wrote and/or recorded collectively, from “Ring of Fire” and “Folsom Prison Blues,” to “Me and Bobby McGhee” and “Sunday Morning Coming Down,” to “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain” and “Mamma Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys,” and so many more. The cheerfully scruffy vocals reflect the easy rapport of old friends basking in their accomplishments, while a dazzling supporting crew, including ace guitarist Reggie Young, keep the proceedings moving efficiently. Don’t mourn, celebrate!