Jerry Jeff Walker: Brace for the Obscure (60s rock)! — June 15, 2022

THE GREATEST SONGS OF THE 1960s THAT NO ONE HAS EVER HEARD

485) Jerry Jeff Walker — “Courage of Love”

Yet again, I feature a song by a Walker who wasn’t really a Walker* — this a lovely, quiet and reflective song from Jerry’s third album (’69), which was “by and large . . . a quiet, reflective album.” (Spencer Leigh, liner notes to Jerry Jeff Walker: Mr. Bojangles: The Atco/Elektra Years) Oh, and very reminiscent of Leonard Cohen.

Greg Adams writes of the album — Five Years Gone — that:

[It] might be one of the oddest albums from the ’60s you will find in the country section of your local record store. More in line with contemporary singer/songwriters . . . Five Years Gone is a forward-looking album rooted in late-’60s folk and folk-rock rather than popular country. Certainly the poetic but sometimes inscrutable lyrics owe more to Bob Dylan than any Nashville tradition, even though Nashville heavyweights . . . make up the band . . . [and adding] some wonderfully haunting steel guitar lines. The late ’60s and early ’70s were an interesting time during which Atco released a number of seemingly uncommercial but ultimately enduring singer/songwriter albums, of which Five Years Gone is a prime example.

https://www.allmusic.com/album/five-years-gone-mw0000654771

As to JJW, Mark Deming writes:

Jerry Jeff Walker was a Texan by choice . . . but few artists better typified the mood of the Lone Star State’s outlaw country scene and their fabled singer/songwriter community. Walker never had a hit single himself, but his song “Mr. Bojangles” became a standard . . . and he had a cult following . . . . Walker’s best work was literate and rowdy at the same time, with the wild, raucous mood of his performances balanced by a gift for a perceptive lyric that shone through despite his sometimes rough, plain-spoken vocal style, frequent witticisms, and a fondness for alcohol that marked his creative heyday. . . . [He was] a more intelligent and mature artist than his “gonzo” image suggested. . . .

[He] was born Ronald Clyde Crosby in Oneonta, New York . . . . [He] joined the National Guard, but was eventually kicked out for going AWOL, and he took to wandering the country, busking and playing random gigs wherever he could. . . . He initially played the folk circuit in New York, and went on to join a rock band called Circus Maximus . . . who played a blend of folk-rock, jazz, and psychedelia. [see #348] . . . [He] launched his solo career with the LP Mr. Bojangles . . . in 1968 . . . . In 1969, he brought out two albums [including] the rock-oriented Five Years Gone . . . .

https://www.allmusic.com/artist/jerry-jeff-walker-mn0000845468/biography

And Richie Unterberger adds:

The late 1960s were prolific years for Jerry Jeff Walker as the singer-songwriter started to get his solo career off the ground. . . . [I]n March 1969, he recorded his second Atco LP, Five Years Gone He might not have been selling a ton of records—none of the three albums, in fact, even made the charts. . . . Five Years Gone, like so many albums of the late 1960s by singer-songwriters who grown out of the folk-rock scene, was recorded in Nashville. . . . [The album’s producer Elliot] Mazer observed, “Jerry wanted to reach a bigger audience. He had been on the road for a few years doing those coffee houses.” Today he elaborates, “I had done lots of records in Nashville by then and he was interested in some of the musos I worked with. He wanted more rhythm and more country, I believe.” Not that things always worked smoothly between producer and artist: “Jerry did not like that I was trying to get him to sing in tune and I did not like that he sang out of tune and didn’t care.”

http://www.richieunterberger.com/fiveyearsgone.html

“A love for others shouldn’t lack in courage or shadows thicked in anger hold you down. Your love is always traveling there beside you with the strength to turn this world around. In your mind you’re free and love can blossom. In solitude you cultivate its range. You have in sight a life all men have dreamed of. You seek to make it happen in your day. But on the street you meet with strung emotions. You’ve more respect for him than he himself. Your open gift of love for him’s confusing. But love transcends while hatred fools itself. The way you live each thought is how you’re moving. The direction of your dreams is where you go. The courage of your love to have importance is all you really need or have to show. . . .”

* Spencer Leigh: “[Ronald Clyde Crosby is] not a bad name but it’s not as good as Jerry Jeff Walker. ‘I was a bartender when I was 17,’ he told me, ‘I wasn’t old enough so I used a fake ID with the name ‘Jerry Ferris’ on it. Then I started singing in the bar a little bit and I decided if I was going to be called something, I would be Jeff Walker but they knew me as Jerry so I jammed them together.'”

Check out the site’s new page: Stick It to the (Fish)Man: Feedback — the coolest comments I have received!

I have added a Facebook page for Brace for the Obscure 60s Rock! If you like what you read and hear and feel so inclined, please visit and “like” my Facebook page by clicking here.

Pay to Play! The Off the Charts Spotify Playlist! + Brace for the Obscure 60s Rock Merchandise

Please consider helping to support my website/blog by contributing $6 a month for access to the Off the Charts Spotify Playlist. Using a term familiar to denizens of Capitol Hill, you pay to play! (“relating to or denoting an unethical or illicit arrangement in which payment is made by those who want certain privileges or advantages in such arenas as business, politics, sports, and entertainment” — dictionary.com).

The playlist includes all the “greatest songs of the 1960’s that no one has ever heard” that are available on Spotify. The playlist will expand each time I feature an available song.

All new subscribers will receive a Brace for the Obscure 60s Rock magnet. New subscribers who sign up for a year will also receive a Brace for the Obscure 60s Rock t-shirt or baseball cap. See pictures on the Pay to Play page.

When subscribing, please send me an e-mail (GMFtma1@gmail.com) or a comment on this site letting me know an e-mail address/phone number/Facebook address, etc. to which I can send instructions on accessing the playlist and a physical address to which I can sent a magnet/t-shirt/baseball cap. If choosing a t-shirt, please let me know the gender and size you prefer.

Just click on the first blue block for a month to month subscription or the second blue block for a yearly subscription.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: