Jerry Jeff Walker documentary will answer some of fans' longtime questions

from Dallas Morning News on

In director Patrick Tourville's documentary in progress about Jerry Jeff Walker, the Texas troubadour fills in a lot of missing puzzle pieces for longtime fans.

For example: How did he get a crowd to come to Luckenbach (population: 3) for the landmark live recording of the album ¡Viva Terlingua! and its anthemic track "London Homesick Blues" featuring a shouting, hooting audience?

Clips from the film OK Buckaroos show Jerry Jeff explaining that he went to Luckenbach to transcend the studio experience.

"But there wasn't any audience," he says. "You can hear crickets and stuff on the record. We were goin' so well that I said, 'Let's call Austin and let them advertise that we're doing a show Saturday night in Luckenbach and tell them we're charging a dollar, so they'll come.' 'Cause I just needed people in there. Well, about 900 people showed up at a dance hall that holds about 500."

Tourville is a friend of Jerry Jeff and his wife, Susan. He filmed the singer's Fourth of July concert last year at Dell Diamond in Round Rock.

When Tourville approached Susan asking what to do with the footage, she handed him 40 years' worth of films, video and photos, and gave him a free hand to make a documentary.

"I had a lot of videotapes up on the shelf that were not going to be in good shape much longer," she says.

"I wanted to save all this stuff."

So Tourville began filming interviews with friends and contemporaries including Willie Nelson , Guy Clark, Ray Wylie Hubbard , Kris Kristofferson and Jimmy Buffett.

In a clip from the '70s, Jerry Jeff said that when he wrote "Mr. Bojangles," no one knew it would have such universal appeal and be covered by so many artists. "Who thought they'd be interested in an old drunk and a dead dog?" he says.

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