Nashville Rebel

Even if you’ve never heard any of Waylon Jennings’ music, you can get a pretty good whiff of his artistic persona just by taking a gander at the cig-puffin’, Fu Manchu-sportin’, leather-clad hombre who gazes back from the cover of this four-disc, 92-song compilation of classic modern country music. Jennings started his career as a protégé of fellow Texan Buddy Holly, and this set kicks off with the rollicking, Holly-produced “Jole Blon,” from Jennings’ first recording session in 1958. Before ditching Nashville to pursue his own vision of roots-rockin’ country, Jennings was produced by Chet Atkins, and his 1968 “Just to Satisfy You” is a prime example of things going right in an “establishment” studio. But Jennings really came into his own in the ’70s, when he took control of his own recording process and issued such near-perfect albums as Honky Tonk Heroes, This Time and Dreaming My Dreams, all of which are well-represented here. His cringe-worthy 1976 rendition of schlock classic “MacArthur Park (Revisited)” notwithstanding, this is a glorious celebration of a genuine pioneer.