Sifting through a passel of more and/or less current country reissues—redundant or worse are Warner Bros./Rhino’s one-disc Randy Travis, HighTone’s Joe Ely and Jimmie Dale Gilmore best-ofs, RCA’s Ultimate Clint Black and John Anderson and Jerry Reed Country Legends, and the mawkish Love Songs Epic/Legacy laid on George & Tammy—I found two for the A shelves. Ultimate Waylon Jennings is for we who think BMG’s title-by-title reissue program makes less sense than the Black Sabbath box (although 1978’s I’ve Always Been Crazy sounds sane enough). Beyond “outlaw,” nobody ever specifies what Jennings does and doesn’t do with his strained, resonant, masculine baritone—his “Me and Bobby McGee” is uglier than Kristofferson’s. But on sure shots you can forgive him his pain. Highlights include the belated “Don’t You Think This Outlaw Bit’s Done Got Out of Hand” and the wounded “The Taker,” a Kristofferson song about a lady some other slimeball done wrong. Dwight Yoakam, of course, is that slimeball. Although there was no such thing as purist honky-tonk before he came along, now there is, and in controlled doses it’s as sharp as the crease in his crotch. The 20 selections never tail off, and neither does Yoakam’s voice as it transports Buck Owens from the flats of Bakersfield to the Blue Ridge mountains of your mind.


Green Steals Reform Support

October 20—The Reform Party in Georgia has bolted the Pat Buchanan camp and gone over to Green candidate Ralph Nader.

Said Georgia Reform vice-chair Jerry Reed: “I’ve always admired Nader personally….He’s always been a top-drawer, honest person. I would have liked to see him run in the Reform Party.”

Buchanan press secretary K.B. Forbes told the Macon Telegraph “the lack of support” from Reed’s organization, which is not recognized by the national party, is “irrelevant and inconsequential.”

The Georgia defection follows Wednesday’s press conference in Texas where three former Reform Party top officials—Paul Truax, who founded the Reform Party with Ross Perot in 1992; Leep Pepper, former state chair; and former Tarrant County chair Sandy Madison—went over to Nader. The trio claim Nader’s goals are closer to those of the original Reform Party than are Buchanan’s.

Meanwhile, 12 members of Ralph Nader’s original Nader Raiders—as his former loyal lieutenants were called—have signed a Dear Ralph letter that beseeches the consumer champion to get out of the race before he ends up electing Republican George W. Bush over Democrat Al Gore. “The attached opinion polls now show you are drawing between three and eight percent of the total vote in nine states—Florida, Michigan, Missouri, New Mexico, Nevada, Ohio, Oregon, Washington, and Wisconsin, a level of support which is equal to or more than the present differences in support for Al Gore and George Bush,” says the letter. “More importantly your candidacy has reduced Al Gore’s support to…42 to 45 percent since most of your likely voters would be in the Gore camp if you were not on the ballot.”