Listen to I'VE BEEN A LONG TIME LEAVING (BUT I'LL BE A LONG TIME GONE) by Waylon Jennings.
The Outlaw Movement in country music was headed by figures who all could be considered "Kings Of The Road." With exile from Nashville being an explicit criterion of membership in the movement, exile in general became a common theme in the music of Waylon, Billie Joe, Jessi and all the rest. It's no surprise that Willie Nelson's best known song is On The Road Again, after all.
So when I went to pick a song from Waylon Jennings to pitch in here, I had a lot of options and a tough choice. I've Been A Long Time Leaving (But I'll Be A Long Time Gone) from "Dreaming My Dreams" is all a little different from what's gone before. There's no exhilaration here. It has this interesting tension that builds and is never fully released. Waylon talks about leaving, says he's going to get on the road, but in the song at least, he hasn't quite stepped out the door. It's like he's hoping someone will convince him to stick around, and the bravado in the title is just that: an empty threat.
Photo: Sands Motel.