Waylon and Singing Between the Lines

December 24, 2017
I admire the song with a seemingly simple lyric that can be sung “away from” its plain meaning, because there is, between the lines, something not obvious at first glance. This is what the singer can bring out in his delivery.
Since I’m listening to a lot of Waylon lately, let me use “Sandy Sends Her Best” (1973) as an example. The singer writes his former lover (who has, in his own words, waited “faithfully” for him) to tell her he’s running off with Sandy. The letter, which is the entire lyric, is a cruel, selfish, unapologetic statement of abandonment, which the cad who wrote it did not dare make face to face.
Perhaps the most faithless line, kicking sand in the face of one you’ve knocked down is this:
“Sandy sends her best and she and I both wish you well.”
Can you imagine the gall? But Waylon, with that very subtle masculine charm has a way of singing it, that one may even sympathize with this rotten S.O.B. Quite a chanteur he was, bold and daring, without much flexibility in his vocal tone or command, but a real master of exposing subtle intention in song.
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