One would hardly need an excuse to revisit such an iconic moment in musical history, not just americana or country music history, that took place at the Nassau Coliseum in 1990, but recent rumours of the failing health of Kris Kristofferson, one of only two members of this the ultimate supergroup still with us, prompted me to indulge one more time.
Formed in 1985, The Highwaymen consisted of four of the biggest names ever to grace country music, each playing a significant role in the development of the ‘Outlaw Movement’ that came to prominence during the seventies and would prove to be such an influence on the fledgling americana scene. In truth, by the time their debut album was released the halcyon days of the four members, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings and Kristofferson appeared to be well behind them. The hard earned sagacity of these seasoned campaigners was no longer welcomed by Nashville’s fickle powerbrokers who yearned for a younger, fresh faced talent that could ideally dance and look good in videos . However, even if individually their commercial peak had past, collectively they would pack a punch that would send the doubters scurrying for cover, returning them to the top of the charts and selling out arenas around the U.S.
The following ten years would see the quartet release three album, starting with ‘Highwayman’ a Jimmy Webb composition that the four icons would eventually come to be known, recording their final album ‘The Road Goes On For Ever’ as The Highwaymen, (there had originally been a folk group by the same name back in the late fifties that initially brought legal action). Sadly Jennings and Cash would pass away within fifteen months of each other during the early years of the new millennium.
This live footage comes from the Nassau Coliseum during their 1990 tour that was captured on film and released on video in. 2016, and finds the four legends in stunning form as they pay homage to another songwriting legend Guy Clark playing his magnum opus ‘Desperados Waiting For A Train’. If this doesn’t put a smile on your face and a bring a tear to your eye I’d check your pulse.