The Wittliff celebrates the life and music of Jerry Jeff Walker in its newest exhibition, ¡Viva Jerry Jeff! The Origins and Wild Times of a Texas Icon. Based on the singer-songwriter’s recently acquired personal archives, the exhibit sheds new light on how this small-town New York athlete came to embody Texas music and usher in the progressive country and redneck rock era of the 1970s. See how the legend was born, from his school days in upstate New York, to his formative gypsy drifter days using an alias, to his defining recordings in Luckenbach and Austin. ¡Viva Jerry Jeff! brings the story to life through personal, one-of-a-kind artifacts, handwritten lyrics, photos, letters, newly acquired early recordings and the arrest record from that fateful day in New Orleans in July 1965 when he met “Mr. Bojangles.”
In January 2018, The Wittliff Collections acquired live recordings from 1964, as well as song demos from December 1965. Some of the songs have never been released. Below are a few selections from these recordings posted to Soundcloud.