A few years back, knowing full well that I couldn't come anywhere near Waylon Jennings classic original, I agreed to to record a version of "Amanda" for a Waylon tribute CD. Maybe for private sentimental reasons or maybe because the bittersweet, middle-aged angst lyrics of the song have always appealed to me, I went into the studio and gave it a shot.
"Amanda" was written by Bob McDill, a successful, transplanted Texas songwriter in Nashville. Although, throughout his long songwriting career, many of Bob McDill's songs have been covered by such stars as Don Williams, Jerry Lee Lewis, Pam Tillis, Alan Jackson, Mickey Gilley, Crystal Gayle and even Sam The Sham And The Pharaohs, "Amanda" is perhaps his most famous composition due to the huge hit recording by Waylon. I don't that much about Mr. McDill's other songs but if I had written "Amanda", I might just quit songwriting because I may not be able to write anything as good again.
I played acoustic guitar and sang as best as I could as some old friends joined me for the session; Chris Gaffney (accordion and harmony vocals), Greg Leisz (electric guitar) and Don Heffington (drums), while Mark Linett recorded the basic track at his Your Place Or Mine Studio in Glendale, California. In an odd twist to the recording, Paul Gannon later recorded some overdubs in Nashville at Big Ears Studio that featured Dave Roe on bass, Mike Daly on steel guitar and Chuck Mead on guitar. This impersonal, transcontinental approach was an unorthodox way of recording a song, and I don't normally recommend it, but I think it came out all right in the end.
Even though his songs are more famous than he is, maybe someday someone will do tribute record to Bob McDill. If they ever do, tell them to give me a call.
Dave Alvin - November 13, 2008