Me ’n’ Ol’ Waylon

The phone rang, Daisy answered it, hesitated while the caller spoke and replied, “Yeah,
sure…just a minute.” She placed the caller on hold and said to me, “Your friend Ski (the late
Danny Stepiewski, former professional heavyweight boxer and notorious practical joker) is on
the phone.” “This is Gary,” I answered, picking up line 1. “This is Waylon Jennings,” the voice
said, “I’ve been listening to some songs that Dean Kay gave me that you wrote.” I knew it wasn’t
Ski; I’d heard Waylon’s speaking voice several times on TV and Ski wasn’t that good of a vocal
impressionist. “Hey Waylon,” I offered, “I didn’t expect to pick up the phone and hear you on the
other end.” “I just wanted to call you and tell you I think your song, ‘Classy Women,’ is one of
the funniest songs I’ve ever heard. I played it for Johnny Cash and we laughed our asses off.”
“Waylon, I’ve got a truckload of songs that you should be doing…it ain’t that easy to get your
attention, though…” “Look, I’ve got four or five of your songs and they’re the best stuff I’ve
received for my new album. See if you can come up with some more, have Dean forward them to
me and I’ll get back with you.” Waylon instructed. “Geez Waylon,” I said, “how ‘bout I run ’em
up to your house? You’re in Nashville, right? I’m practically next door…San Diego.” “Don’t
worry,” he said, “I won’t forget you; just whip me up a couple of more tunes and we’ll work out
all the details.” We did some small talk for a few more minutes and hung up. I’d heard that
Waylon had a habit of getting worked up over something (a project, or a song) and then losing
interest as time passed, so it didn’t really surprise me when I never heard from him again. I don’t
know if he ever did the album he spoke of and I don’t know of any he did after we spoke.
Mainstream cats do a lot of stuff that never gets released; who knows what happened? I didn’t
anticipate anything ever coming of it; I’d been down that road too many times before. As it
turned out my instincts were correct. But Ol’ Waylon made my day, that day and I still have the
song I wrote, after that call, for him, waiting in the wings:

words & music by Gary Rex Tanner BMI
I’m an old gunslinger ridin’ through the night
This old trigger finger…is feelin’ kind of tight
That ain’t such a good thing for a cowboy with a past
I’ve got some fight left in me but this may be my last
Young guns are ridin’ I can hear the hoofbeats pound
They’re comin’ here to bury me six feet under ground
Young guns are smilin’ ‘cause they think that they smell fear
But if I’m half the man I was…I’ll chase ‘em out of here
I’m an old gunslinger and my past speaks for itself
With blazin’ guns I’ve fought and won these trophies on my shelf
I ain’t braggin’ ‘bout it or ridin’ ancient trails
But these notches on my gun belts tell a thousand tales
Young guns are ridin’ I can feel it in the air
A woman’s pullin’ at my sleeve as I saddle up my mare
Young guns are comin’ and their eyes are hard and cold
But I’ve got faith in God and these two six guns that I hold
I’ll spend some time in Texas…then I’ll pass through Tennessee
The gals in California ain’t seen the last of me
Young guns on the horizon…I see ‘em now and then
It wasn’t all that long ago that I was just like them
Young guns were ridin’ free as eagles in the sky
Shootin’ up the bars and dancehalls not afraid to die
Young guns are ridin’ they’ve been ridin’ hard and long
But won’t you let me sing a few more songs tomorrow I’ll be gone
I’m an old gunslinger…
young guns are ridin’
I’m an old gunslinger…
young guns are ridin’
So long Outlaw, it was good knowin’ you…even for a few minutes

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