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Willie Nelson / Webb Pierce:
In the Jailhouse Now

Webb Pierce was one of the most successful country artists of all times. The career of this "ultimate honky-tonk singer" peaked in the 1950's and early '60's, when Webb Pierce was extremely popular among C&W fans, racking up more number one hits than similar artists like Hank Williams, Eddy Arnold, Lefty Frizzell, and Ernest Tubb. Pierce -- with his lavish, flamboyant Nudie suits -- became the most recognizable face of country music, as well as all of its excesses; after all, he boasted about his pair of convertibles lined with silver dollars and his guitar-shaped swimming pool.

He had mostly retired from the music industry in the late '70s, having serious drinking problems, when Willie Nelson got him back into the studio to record the duet that became the title track of the album In the Jailhouse Now. The sessions took place on June 8-9, 1981 in Pedernales Recording Studio, Spicewood, TX and in Moman's Recording Studio, Nashville, TN. The Nelson/Pierce recording of "In the Jailhouse Now" is a remake of the same Jimmie Rodgers song that was a big hit for Pierce in 1955. It scraped the bottom of the country charts when the album was released in September 1982. Pierce died from cancer in 1991.

Richard Manuel is listed as one of the musicians on "In the Jailhouse Now". The only singing voices seem to be Nelson's and Pierce's, so there has been some confusion about what Richard does on the album, especially since Leon Russell is also credited. The 1995 Willie Nelson box set Revolutions Of Time: The Journey 1975-1993 clears this up, as the booklet credits Richard for playing piano, and gives these details about the recording:

In The Jailhouse Now (2:08) w/ Webb Pierce (J. Rogers) PC 38095 rel: Sept. 1982 Willie Nelson & Webb Pierce In The Jailhouse Now Rec: June 8-9, 1981 Pedernales Recording Studio, Spicewood, TX and Moman's Recording Studio, Nashville, TN Produced by Willie Nelson, Chips Moman charted 10/9/82; peak #72 - Col. 03231 Jimmy Day, Bobby Emmons, Paul English, Johnny Gimble, Grady Martin, Chips Moman, Willie Nelson, Jody Payne, Webb Pierce, Mickey Raphael, Leon Russell, Bee Spears, Richard Manuel.


  1. Back Street Affair
  2. Cryin' Over You
  3. I Ain't Never
  4. I'm Tired
  5. In The Jailhouse Now [RealAudio] MPEG-3 file (2.1MB)
  6. It's Been So Long
  7. I Don't Care
  8. Slowly
  9. There Stands The Glass
  10. Tupelo County Jail
  11. Cowtown
  12. Yes, I Know Why


  • Jimmy Day
  • Bobby Emmons
  • Paul English
  • Johnny Gimble
  • Grady Martin
  • Chips Moman
  • Willie Nelson
  • Jody Payne
  • Webb Pierce
  • Mickey Raphael
  • Leon Russell
  • Bee Spears
  • Richard Manuel, piano

Willie Nelson/Webb Pierce - In the Jailhouse Now - 1982 - CBS PCT-38095

AMG Rating: 8 (Out of 9)

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