Jerry Jeff Walker “Bein’ Free”

Bein' Free

This one, his 4th solo, was recorded after Mr. Bojangles, Driftin’ Way of Life, and Five Years Gone. He would imprint his legacy on the next one, Jerry Jeff Walker (an Austin masterpiece), but bridge from his drifter-folk career with Bein’ Free, by no means just a three star record.

He kicks it off with a customary party track, “I’m Gonna Tell On You.” This song embodies the “gonzo” sound, with a crew hollering background choruses and one-liners, a perfectly loose feel, boozy grin on your singer’s face. “Stoney.” “Nobody’s.” “But For The Time.” Hard not to fall for the heartfelt Jerry songs. “Harmonica Talk” is pretty awesome, a trio of hambone, jaw harp, and harp riffs. “Please Let Me Be” is especially interesting with sandpaper blocks, harpsichord, and some fantastic pipey (synth?) sounds I can’t even make out.

“Some Go Home,” one of “Jerry Jeff’s train songs” was the track that got me early on; JJ’s no slouch on a storyteller and this is kind of a precursor to “Desperados.” Bein’ Free is a special album, the kind that benefits from vinyl’s hum and crackle. I’m sure the CD sounds just fine.

Q: Any other fans out there? Care to list your top three JJW songs or records?

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“Some Go Home”

;) MP3 Album |¬†download Bein’ Free ]
:) Original Vinyl | 1970 | ATCO | search ebay ]
8-) Spotify link | listen ]

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  • Hmmm…? I guess I like the popular ones.

    Records: (1) Viva Terlingua, (2) Jerry Jeff Walker, (3) Ridin’ High

    Songs: (1) Sangria Wine, (2) Pissin’ In The Wind, (3) Gettin’ By

    To be fair I really haven’t absorbed the early pre-Austin stuff. Your reviews are intriguing. There’s always more to listen to!

  • Okay, I’ll bite.
    Top 3 Jerry Jeff albums:
    Five Years Gone
    Driftin’ Way of Life
    Ridin’ High

    Top 3 songs:
    Blues in Your Mind
    Fading Lady (although I prefer the Circus Maximus version)
    Jaded Lover

  • Jerry Jeff is amazing,
    Top 3 albums:
    Viva Terlingua – everyone should own a copy!
    A Man Must Carry On
    It’s a Good Night for Singing

  • philip olivier

    I am a huge Jerry Jeff fan. Not only his originals but also the Billy Joe Shaver songs he sings.

  • Hogan

    Dust On My Boots. That is all. The best, hands down in my opinion.

  • mosec

    I like “Shell Game” from Driftin’ Way of Life.

  • Louder than Milk

    Hard to go past “North Cumberland Blues” from Driftin’ Way Of Life. “Maybe Mexico” is a drunken favourite from Mr Bojangles as well.

  • Shinealight

    Shell Game!

  • ed

    i see ‘five years gone’ and ‘bein free’ on the same special not to categorize level, they’re out of this planetary system. or should this level even be the real one this system should work?!?!

  • kaptain

    I Feel Like Hank Williams
    Contrary to Ordinary

  • Meir

    This album meant so much to me when I got it as a CD re-issue on the now defunct Line/Linea re-issure label.

    Deep, dark emotions running through this. Late at night stuff.

    BTW: Nobody’s is (I believe!) a Gary White song and nicely covered by Linda Ronstadt on Silk Purse – a great album as well.

  • oluckyman

    Five Years Gone is his masterpiece IMHO.
    The opposite of Gonzo — such fragile & delicate beauty in several songs.
    Big props to David Bromberg.

  • Jason

    I own Five Years Gone and it’s an excellent album – not a typical Jerry Jeff Walker outing though…’s a bit more eccentric but there’s some lovely tunes and songwriting on that disc – an underrated album that needs to be mentioned in the same breathe with JJW’s best early to mid 70’s classics.

  • Joe Roberts

    Agreed. “About Her Eyes” from Five Years Gone is a stone cold gorgeous song

  • LeeRock

    Hill country Rain. Bring it back to Baldwin co., Al.

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