My Kind of Country

Country music from a fan's point of view since 2008

Album Reviews: Jessi Colter and Waylon Jennings duets

There currently isn’t much available by this duo, and they did not record much together since their voices really didn’t blend all that well.

Leather & Lace was issued on vinyl & cassette by RCA in February 1981 and features the following ten songs:

01) You Never Can Tell (C’est La Vie)
02) Rainy Seasons
03) I’ll Be Alright
04) Wild Side Of Life
05) Pastels And Harmony
06) I Believe You Can
07) What’s Happened To Blue Eyes
08) Storms Never Last
09) I Ain’t The One
10)You’re Not My Same Sweet Baby

All American Country was issued on CD by BMG in 2003 and features the following ten songs:

Suspicious Minds
Under Your Spell Again
I Ain’t The One *
Storms Never Last *
Wild Side Of Life *
You Never Can Tell (C’est La Vie) *
Sight For Sore Eyes
I’ll Be Alright *
What’s Happened To Blue Eyes *
You’re Not My Same Sweet Baby *

Songs marked by * also appear on Leather & Lace.

There are only four actual duets on Leather & Lace (01, 04, 08, 09) with Jessi being solo on 02 and 06 and Waylon being solo on the remaining four songs.

All American County has the four duets on Leather & Lace plus “Suspicious Minds”, “Under Your Spell Again” and “Sight For Sore Eyes” are duets, meaning that the modern era CD is the better collection if you are looking for actual duets. This CD is still readily available, whereas Leather & Lace has been out of print for a long time.

Waylon & Jessi did not have a tremendous amount of chart success as a duet, with “Wild Side of Life” (a medley of Hank Thompson’s hit and Kitty Wells’ answer song) reaching #10 in 1981 and “Storms Never Last” reaching #17” in 1981. The only other top twenty hit was “Suspicious Minds”, the old Elvis #1 pop hit from 1969 reaching #2 in 1976.

Truthfully, while I am a big Waylon Jennings fan, neither of these albums is particularly satisfactory. I would regard the best song (found on both albums) as “You Never Can Tell”, a Chuck Berry song from 1964. The solo efforts on Leather & Lace (especially the Waylon tracks) are throw-aways so I would give Leather & Lace a C. I would give All American Country a B for having more duets and better songs.

6 responses to “Album Reviews: Jessi Colter and Waylon Jennings duets

  1. Ken March 22, 2017 at 10:02 am

    I agree that vocally Waylon & Jessi were not a great duo. Had they not been a real-life couple they probably would never have recorded together. Jessi has a unique voice that only works really well for certain songs. I never heard the chemistry in their duets that made iconic duos like George & Tammy, Porter & Dolly or Loretta & Conway so successful.

    I love Waylon’s duets with Anita Carter. They scored one hit together ‘I Got You” [#4 in 1968] but unfortunately never recorded an entire duet album. Too bad because their voices blended very well.

  2. Luckyoldsun March 23, 2017 at 2:09 am

    I’d think the model for Waylon and Jessi as a duet team would have been Johnny Cash and June Carter. But the chemistry that Johnny and June showed isn’t there with Waylon and Jessi. Waylon just seems too dominant and Jessi is almost intimidated in their performances. Johnny was a much bigger star than Waylon at the time, but June never seems intimidated by him, at all. Probably because June grew up among stars and was a pretty gifted comic actress herself. In their best songs, like “Jackson” and “Guitar Pickin’ Man,” she’s always more than happy to put Johnny in his place!

    • Paul W Dennis March 23, 2017 at 6:50 am

      Quite true

    • Ken March 23, 2017 at 7:50 am

      Please furnish proof of this so-called “intimidation” that Jessi suffered from Waylon. Although they were not the best matched duo vocally I’ve never witnessed any “intimidation.” Your ongoing pseudo psychoanalysis of artists is very tedious.

      Waylon and Jessi both had far more laid back personalities than Johnny & June who were both larger than life onstage – especially Cash. Other than the fact that both couples were married there’s little common ground, Even the songs that each couple selected as duets were dissimilar, So how on earth could Johnny & June have been a MODEL for Waylon & Jessi? Your shallow off-base analysis is absurd as usual because you have a burning desire to add a comment to just about every discussion here despite the fact that you have no substantive knowledge of most topics and especially older country music in general.

  3. Brett March 23, 2017 at 9:42 pm

    Wow, everybody beatin up on Waylon and Jessi! I too am biased of Waylon, but i happen to love to the Leather and Lace album, it gives a good variety if both their strengths. I will admit that they werent perfect matches for each other vocally, they made up for in style. Through drugs and substance abuse, Waylon sounds tired on this record but Jessi is special, especially on piano driven ballads. Storms Never Last and Wildside of Life I think sounds great. My favorite of theirs is an old Mickey Newbury song who Waylon covered many times throughout his career is Youre Not My Same Sweet Baby.
    Also, anybody doubting Jessi’s capabilities, check out her performances on the gem of an album, White Mansions, she brings it!

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