He was born Ronald Crosby in Oneonta, New York, though he was better known as Jerry Jeff Walker, and he'd made his home in Austin Texas for nearly 50 years.
Walker, who died of cancer on Friday, was a first rate storyteller and songwriter who slipped away from songwriting and turned his attention to drinking and carousing, both of which he excelled at. But his casual, shambolic style couldn’t disguise the fact that he was a riveting performer when he chose to be and a quietly devastating songwriter. Anyone who only knows his signature song, “Mr Bojangles,” could spend a very profitable afternoon lost in his early records. Or his later ones, for that matter.
Walker was a laid-back outlaw whose "gonzo country" was a close cousin to Willie and Waylon, with rock, blues, and traditional Mexican norteño and Tejano styles thrown in like bottles in a strangely genial bar fight.
The apotheosis was the live album "Viva Terlingua!" named after the hauntingly beautiful border ghost town near Big Bend National Park. Walker's Lost Gonzo Band that would assemble, re-assemble, and shift over the years, always remaining true to the Gonzo.
Jerry Jeff died of throat cancer Friday at 78.
It's a good time to recall his music and summon the Gonzo.
My Old Man ::: Jerry Jeff Walker
Fading Lady ::: Jerry Jeff Walker
Mr Bojangles (live on WBAI) ::: Jerry Jeff Walker
Night Rider's Lament ::: Jerry Jeff Walker
Maybe Mexico ::: Jerry Jeff Walker
Dust On My Boots ::: Jerry Jeff Walker
Little Bird ::: Jerry Jeff Walker
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