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The Highwaymen

Johnny Cash is the only individual member of The Highwaymen who has been singing to me since I started collecting records. In fact, well before I bought first vinyl LP, I was listening to Cash. He was one of Roger’s (my father’s) favourites.

I heard the others – Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson – much later. But country music didn’t really interest me too much then.

Highwaymen - Nelson, Jennings, Kristofferson, Cash

Highwaymen – Nelson, Jennings, Kristofferson, Cash

Nor do the Highwaymen – but somehow their first album is in my shelves and I just love the title song – Highwayman – written by Jimmy Webb.

Jimmy Webb of course is a prolific songwriter. He wrote Highwayman in around 1977 – waking from a dream (after some “professional drinking” with Harry Nilsson) in which he was a highwayman being chased by grenadiers. (Link: Webb’s story of the song.)

The Highwaymen took their name from the song. The four icons of country music had decided to do a project together while they were recording a TV special in Switzerland. Thy began recording in 1984. Marty Stuart played the song to Cash suggesting it would  be perfect for this new country super-group – 4 verses, 4 souls, 4 singers. Then Glen Campbell (who’d recorded the song in 1978 but his record label refused to release it) played it to all four of the super-group – and they immediately had the group’s name, the title of their first album, and a song for their first single.

How are Highwayman & Stone linked?

Both songs track a journey of reincarnation – birth, life, death, rebirth.

Stone (Ronnie Lane)

I’ve been tinker, tailor, soldier, sailor.
I’ve known good times and disaster.
But now I’ve found a teacher, and the teacher has a master,
The master is perfection, so he’ll help us get there faster.

Highwayman (Jimmy Webb)

And when I reach the other side
I’ll find a place to rest my spirit if I can
Perhaps I may become a highwayman again
Or I may simply be a single drop of rain
But I will remain
And I’ll be back again, and again and again and again and again…

Other Stuff You Might Enjoy.

* Live Forever – In the Studio with the Highwaymen: Documentary filmed when making their 3rd album. Part 1 (7m 58s); Part 2 (9m 02s); Part 3 (8m 43s); Part 4 (8m 59s); Part 5 (6m 28s)

* Highwayman performed by Jimmy Webb.

* Highwayman – Jimmy Webb & Mark Knopfler 

* Highwayman – Glen Campbell

* Albert Lee peforming Highwayman

Destination next?

North:   The Moon’s A Harsh Mistress by Charlie Haden & Pat Metheny
East:     The Highwayman by Loreena McKennitt (Alfred Noyes poem)
South:   Hurt by Johnny Cash
West:    Stone is that way.

Crossroad 30