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Big Al Owens visits Waylon Jennings' hometown in Texas

The big rig trucker/storyteller Big Al Owens frequently shares stories from the road. This one was written about a stop at the home of famous singer, songwriter Waylor Jennings (1937-2002) where James and Helen Jennings keep the legend alive.

By Allen (Big Al) Owens


I had the pleasure of chatting with James Jennings, brother of country music outlaw and legend Waylon Jennings in their hometown of Littlefield, Texas.

Littlefield is a very small community in northwestern Texas, located about 25 miles from Lubbock. Buddy Holly started his band there and a young Waylon was his bass player. As fate would have it he gave up his ride and the world was spared from losing Waylon the day the music died -- when Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper J.P. Richardson died in a plane crash in that Iowa cornfield.

I was enthralled sharing stories, and listening to James and his first wife Helen. They have been married for almost 50 years, but he still refers to her as his 1st wife.


In between customers at their liquor store appropriately named Waymore, the two of them spent over two hours talking and showing me memories.

The Jennings family grew up dirt poor in this farming community where their father was a share cropper. They even lived in a chicken coop at one time. Waylon grew up with music as his father had a guitar in the house and his family was very musically inclined. Sometimes guests had to move a guitar to have room to sit down.

Waylon changed the way that musicians get paid, and get to keep the music that they write because he figured out really fast how much money the record labels were stealing from the artist. Many different musicians of many different genres of music stop by the Waymore store from time to time to pay their respects.

I learned what much of Waylon's life was like and heard many stories about his fascinating lifestyle. Waylon was first introduced to "bennies" from a truck driver after a long night of carousing, and later discovered cocaine. Somebody tried to convince Waylon to get help from the Betty Ford Clinic, which is a renowned drug rehab, and Waylon said "why? she didn't get me started on the shi*." Waylon was able to quit his wild lifestyle and settled down years later in life.

I am very pleased to say that James and Helen Jennings keep the legend alive in Littlefield, Texas, and many visitors find out that the Jennings were just good ole boys. Waylon had three brothers and James just turned 70 this month. All still call West Texas home.


This story was posted on 2016-03-22 12:32:07
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Big Al visits Littlefield, TX, birthplace of Waylon Jennings



2016-03-21 - Littlefield, TX - Photo by Innocent Bystander.
Big AL, James and Helen Jennings, and Moonhoney in Littlefield, Texas at Waymore Liquor store. Littlefield is the birthplace of Waylon Jennings.

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Pay a visit to Waylon's hometown



2016-03-25 .
Waylon Jennings may be just a cutout in this photo, but Big Al Owens is real and happy to report from the hometown of this famous country artist.

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Marker honors Waylon Jennings in his hometown



2016-03-25 - Littlefield, TX - Photo By Big Al Owens, the Big Rig Trucker.
Here is a marker with the star's boot prints in Waylon's hometown. The Jennings family grew up dirt poor in this farming community where their father was a share cropper, according to Waylon's brother James. He said they even lived in a chicken coop at one time. Waylon grew up with music as his father had a guitar in the house and his family was very musically inclined. Sometimes guests had to move a guitar to have room to sit down.

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Willie and Waylon and The Boys



2016-03-25 - Littlefield, TX - Photo By Big Al Owens, the Big Rig Trucker.
Willie and Waylon and The Boys -- or does the song go, Waylon and Willie and the boys? Anyway, this keepsake autographed photo grouping shows Waylon Jennings with Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson and Johnny Cash in the good days they had together.

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