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Phase One: The Early Years 1958 -- 1964 (Hip-O Records)

It's a well-known chapter of the Waylon Jennings legend that he gave up his seat on the ill-fated 1959 flight that killed Buddy Holly. What many fans may not realize is that Jennings and his mentor also spent some time in a recording studio. The result: two extremely rare, Buddy-produced songs, "When Sin Stops" and "Jole Blon."

Those tunes are the main attraction on Phase One, but they're just two of 20 intriguing examples of Waylon's earliest work collected on this new CD.

Waylon's smoothly edgy vocal style is already evident on a peppy, early-'60s version of Buddy's "Rave On," and on "The Stage (Stars In Heaven)," an eerie recitation about the crash that killed Buddy and the car wreck that took the life of '50s rocker Eddie Cochran.

By 1963, Waylon had abandoned pop for an easygoing blend of folk and country, doing tasty covers ranging from a brooding take on "The House Of The Rising Sun" to Roy Orbison's "Crying."

The CD ends before Waylon's 1965 move to Nashville, where he found his outlaw groove and the trail he was born to blaze. Nonetheless, Phase One represents his first tentative steps on that historic journey.

-- Mark Marymont

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