Wille Nelson C/D, S&D

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i'd been meaning to do this for a while, but y'know, while we're on the subject

Al (sitcom), Wednesday, 6 November 2002 02:27 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

I think that at this point he's viewed by the public, or at least rock fans of my generation, with some vague respect but also as kind of a cartoonish pop culture icon a la Ozzy; you know, pot smokin', tax evadin' Willie, and admittedly that's at least partly his own doing. which is a shame, because i'm beginning to realize how great he can be.

one of my favorite singers, Carla Bozulich, has long sung the praises of Willie's "Red Headed Stranger" album, and earlier this year, decided to tour and record her own cover of the entire album, which motivated me to finally check it out. and it's really something else...it was Willie's first album for Atlantic and his first big crossover hit, going triple platinum and "Blue Eyes Crying In the Rain" reaching the top 40...which when you listen to it is pretty amazing. even in '75, in the wake of "Tommy" (dunno if Willie actually ever claimed it as an inspiration for RHH though), this is still a bizarre and wonderful narrative concept album about a preacher who murders his wife and finds redemption in new love. most of the songs are then-obscure covers that Willie wove into the storyline, which never quite comes together but still has some real emotional resonance and continuity(which was adapted into an apparently awful feature film in the 80's). on top of that it's an incredibly quiet and spare record where you're really forced to get up close and personal with Willie's voice, which let's face it we all know is an acquired taste.

anyway i'm rambling but i'd also like to add that Willie caught wind of Carla's version of the album, which she recorded in May, and last week he flew her out to Austin so that they could record 2 duets for her RHH, which is amazingly classy of him. and it proves that while he chills with Ryan Adams and Kid Rock to pay the bills and stay in the public eye, he still has an eye for talent and doesn't give a fuck if they're multiplatinum or not.

that said, I have very little idea what's good and bad about the rest of his catalog outside of Red Headed Stranger. but seriously, wonderful album.

Al (sitcom), Wednesday, 6 November 2002 02:39 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

I sprung to his defense elsethread, but I have to admit I'm not an expert. I do love what I've heard though -- I started out per a Willie-lurving friend w/ Somewhere Over the Rainbow and have since picked up Red Headed Stranger. Hearing him sing always makes me happy, and he has as individual a guitar style as anybody I've heard saw wood.

So, Classic, as far as I can tell. It's a plus in my book that he's the dude who wrote "Crazy," dunno if there are folks not enamored with that tune.

wl (wl), Wednesday, 6 November 2002 03:11 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

I also have "Teatro" (recorded in an empty theater live with Daniel Lanois producing) and "Spirit", and they're both very nice.

Sean (Sean), Wednesday, 6 November 2002 04:05 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Stardust stomps all over any other covers album ever made.

Tracer Hand (tracerhand), Wednesday, 6 November 2002 14:57 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

The guy the made the word classic for.

S/D is a bit harder: he's made way too many albums. You're generally safe with the mid-period Columbia recordings (Stardust, Rainbow, Stranger, To Lefty, etc.) or some of the last albums he did for Atlantic. Stay away from the collaboration records (the ones with Webb Piece, Hank Snow, Roger Miller and the entire Half Nelson record): these are all great artists, but the records fall flat. (The one with Ray Price has its moments, however). I'm actually partial to his recent instrumental jazz record, but that may nor be to everyone's taste.

TMFTML
http://intonation.blogspot.com

TMFTML (TMFTML), Wednesday, 6 November 2002 15:25 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

that live record with "whiskey river" on it is pretty hot. not the one with leon russell, that sucks.

For his early singer-songwriter period, I tend to prefer other's versions to his - like The Supreme's playing-against-type "Ain't It Funny How Time Slips Away". Then for the seventies stuff, I dig both the roadhog honkytonk shit and the crooner stuff too. Tracer's right about "Stardust".
Don't know much beyond that.

Fritz Wollner (Fritz), Wednesday, 6 November 2002 16:18 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

the Ray Price duet album San Antonio Rose = super-classic (except for "Deep Water" "Night Life" and "Cold War" which aren't bad, they just don't click like the others)

Tracer Hand (tracerhand), Wednesday, 6 November 2002 16:42 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Willie Nelson is an amazing, amazing man. I've really fallen in love with him and his catalog over the last couple years - his voice is so instantly distinctive and comforting, very pure, unadulterated. The 70s were by far his golden age, I recommend:

Shotgun Willie - I My recollection from his 80s autobio was that this was released ahead of Red Headed Stranger and was his first major "crossover" hit (as opposed to the scads of hit singles he'd penned for other people). Contains several signature tunes including "Whiskey River" (Willie's standard show opener), "Bubbles in My Beer", and the title track. "The Devil Shivered in His Sleeping Bag" is pretty fucking funny too.
Red Headed Stranger - classic classic classic. I agree with the general sentiments Al expresses about this record above.
The Sound in Your Mind - a later period 70s record, with the entire 2nd side being a rather inventive medley. Has beautiful renditions of "Lazy Old Sun" and "Amazing Grace."
Bloody Merry Morning - the pressing I have of this is really odd (a picture of Willie sans beard on the cover!) but contains the title track, which is a favorite song of mine. Lots of Willie finger-picking his nylon-stringed acoustic on this.
The Troublemaker - all gospel. Gorgeous. The Kriss Kristofferson penned title track is great, beautifully understated parable positioning Jesus as a rabble-rousing hippie who won't get a job or join the army.
Stardust - Standards, by far his biggest hit. "Georgia on My Mind", etc.
I Gotta Get Drunk - live, great set. Title track is sweetly hilarious, band at full tilt boogie.

I have more, but those are the best. His 80s work and collaborations are kinda spotty.

Shakey Mo Collier, Wednesday, 6 November 2002 20:29 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Willie Nelson is an amazing, amazing man. I've really fallen in love with him and his catalog over the last couple years - his voice is so instantly distinctive and comforting, very pure, unadulterated. The 70s were by far his golden age, I recommend:

Shotgun Willie - My recollection from his 80s autobio was that this was released ahead of Red Headed Stranger and was his first major "crossover" hit (as opposed to the scads of hit singles he'd penned for other people). Contains several signature tunes including "Whiskey River" (Willie's standard show opener), "Bubbles in My Beer", and the title track. "The Devil Shivered in His Sleeping Bag" is pretty fucking funny too.
Red Headed Stranger - classic classic classic. I agree with the general sentiments Al expresses about this record above.
The Sound in Your Mind - a later period 70s record, with the entire 2nd side being a rather inventive medley. Has beautiful renditions of "Lazy Old Sun" and "Amazing Grace."
Bloody Merry Morning - the pressing I have of this is really odd (a picture of Willie sans beard on the cover!) but contains the title track, which is a favorite song of mine. Lots of Willie finger-picking his nylon-stringed acoustic on this.
The Troublemaker - all gospel. Gorgeous. The Kriss Kristofferson penned title track is great, beautifully understated parable positioning Jesus as a rabble-rousing hippie who won't get a job or join the army.
Stardust - Standards, by far his biggest hit. "Georgia on My Mind", etc.
I Gotta Get Drunk - live, great set. Title track is sweetly hilarious, band at full tilt boogie.

I have more, but those are the best. His 80s work and collaborations are kinda spotty.

Shakey Mo Collier, Wednesday, 6 November 2002 20:30 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Not much to argue with in this thread, but I'll throw in an extra recommendation for Teatro to represent his recent work and add that he has the some of the most capable phrasing in popular music. He really knows how to dance with a song.

teeny (teeny), Wednesday, 6 November 2002 20:35 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

A big, big favourite of mine, one of my half dozen favourite singers, and I have more music by Willie than anyone else (37 albums). I don't dislike one of them, but other than best ofs, there's not really a great album in the bunch. I'd say you need a good comp or two first, then see if you feel like delving further. So I'll mention some fave tracks rather than albums: Always On My Mind, Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain, Funny How Time Slips Away, Night Life, Hello Walls, Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down, Crazy, Darkness On The Face Of The Earth, Face Of A Fighter, Undo The Right, I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry, Ragged But Right, Me And Paul, On The Road Again, Three Days, Till I Gain Control Again, Yesterday's Wine.

Martin Skidmore (Martin Skidmore), Sunday, 10 November 2002 13:31 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

two months pass...
I just seen, The Headed Stranger, on t.v. tonight and I thought it was great. The songs he sang, his acting and the movie it self, I just loved it. If I can find it and the song he sang I will surely buy them. My mother in law is gone by about 2 years and she love Wille also, and now I know why. Wille and Johnny Cash, what a pair, They are both wonderful and great peformers, God Bless them both and many years of entertaining. If you can send me what I want c.o.d., I would really apreicated it, Thank you. That is a great movie, keep them coming, Wille. Stanly Ulrich, 1452 Plantation Dr., Marion, Ohio,43302.

Stanly Ulrich, Sunday, 12 January 2003 03:35 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Tracer is indeed correct about Stardust. A lot of his '90s output is classic, too, particularly Night and Day, a sort of instrumental Stardust with W.N. playing a shitload of wonderful guitar.

Columbia/Legacy is putting out a 2CD Essential Willie Nelson comp on March 11; that sounds like a good starting point if you wanna wait for it.

M Matos (M Matos), Sunday, 12 January 2003 03:50 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Note to UK ILXers: a South Bank Show on Willie tonight, plus some Nobel Prize Concert show which features him later on.

Martin Skidmore (Martin Skidmore), Sunday, 12 January 2003 13:31 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

I just watched the South Bank Show, and was particularly impressed with his take on 9/11 - they showed him leading the gathered stars in America The Beautiful from the big mmorial concert. He said "If someone hits me, I like to look around to find out who it is that hit me before I start hitting back," and went on to point out that America hasn't done a great job of hitting back at the perpetrators. He also said that if he finds his neighbour is very angry at him about something, he wants to find out what it is and think about stopping it. He added that if this neighbour is willing to kill Willie, his family and indeed himself over the issue, he thinks he ought to at least take the problem seriously.

Not Chomsky, but straightforward sense. I know Willie is hardly typical, but I tend not to look to country music for that - I generally find its politics is something I prefer to ignore or treat ironically.

Martin Skidmore (Martin Skidmore), Monday, 13 January 2003 00:24 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Martin, "Phases And Stages" is a great LP!

Tim (Tim), Monday, 13 January 2003 09:59 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Saw the south bank show too. I'm predisposed to liking him because he was on knig of the hill, and because he has pig-tails. Now I know he's a fantastic guitar player too and he has very sensible views on war.

Might even get an album by him.

mei (mei), Monday, 13 January 2003 10:18 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

eleven months pass...
I LOVE ALL OF WILLE NELSON MUSIC I REALY LIKE THE TAPE GREATEST HIT WRE CAN I GET A NEW ONE IN CD THANKS HOWARD

HOWARD MUDD, Saturday, 13 December 2003 13:44 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

I LOVE ALL OF WILLE NELSON MUSIC I REALY LIKE THE TAPE GREATEST HIT WERE CAN I GET A NEW ONE IN CD THANKS HOWARD

HOWARD MUDD, Saturday, 13 December 2003 13:45 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Shaky Mo's got a good list. At the risk of derailing the thread, I have to mention Willie & Waylon (the first one, WWII is pretty lazy) and Wanted: The Outlaws as they both have some really great Willie tracks (and W & W duets) from the same "golden" period (and while I'm at it, Waylon's Honkytonk Heroes and Dreaming My Dreams are must-haves).

His work in the eighties was kind of spotty, but Spirit (1992) and Teatro (1998) are both excellent all the way through.

Also, if you ever see it, rent Songwriter (1985). It's a genuinely funny movie loosely based on Willie and Waylon's dealings with ex-wives, Nashville record execs and shady promoters starring Willie, Kristofferson, and Rip Torn.

Will (will), Saturday, 13 December 2003 22:59 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

the first one WWII is pretty lazy

Will (will), Saturday, 13 December 2003 23:02 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

As far as modern Willie I second Spirit (especially) and Teatro. Haven't heard Night & Day, but it's supposed to be great. I also love Rainbow Connection.

Destroy: Milkcow Blues Boogie or whatever the name of the duet album from a couple of years ago was (also didn't care for the most recent album with all the all-star cameos, though I can't remember the title at all)


chris herrington (chris herrington), Saturday, 13 December 2003 23:32 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Just got the reissue of Red Headed Stranger as an Xmas gift for my dad -- he'll love it, I know.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Saturday, 13 December 2003 23:33 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Was MBB the one with Kid Rock, Sheryl Crowe et al? Yeah, I don't see how anything good can come of it.

OT: hey Chris, The Reigning Sound are no more? That seems to be the buzz over on the Goner site. Sucks.

Will (will), Saturday, 13 December 2003 23:41 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

being from Texas, Willie is in the blood. re-listening to "Mama, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys," which i hadn't heard in twenty-plus years, i still knew all the words.
one of my most recent surprises is his album, _Yesterday's Wine_, which has one of the weirdest openings I've ever heard on a record. Spacy Greek chorus with his backing band, and a mumbled something about this being the era of the "imperfect man."
classic classic.

Beta (abeta), Saturday, 13 December 2003 23:51 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

He's on my list (of people to buy CDs by).

Rockist Scientist, Sunday, 14 December 2003 00:07 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Gee when Chomsky says that sort of thing, people paraphrase it as: "We got what we deserved."

Rockist Scientist, Sunday, 14 December 2003 00:09 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

My parents went to see him at the Clark County Fair 5 years ago. I was *too cool* but walked in to meet them while he was playing his nth encore, "please don't talk about me when I'm gone". I was thoroughly impressed and am a fan to this day. C!

Jole, Sunday, 14 December 2003 05:10 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Closed circuit to Will: seems that way -- Greg is moving to North Carolina from what I hear.

chris herrington (chris herrington), Monday, 15 December 2003 00:57 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

The Party's Over needs a deluxe reissue.

Colin Beckett (Colin Beckett), Monday, 15 December 2003 01:00 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

two years pass...
i've been listening to "You Look Like the Devil" a lot lately... I think it's my favorite Willie vocal performance and such a lovely song. But it doesn't make a lot of sense; who's he singing about? How does he know what the subject looks like "in the morning" if he only met them yesterday? (and what's with the "I've met you" instead of "I met you"?) For awhile I thought it was about a politician... and then a prostitute... but whenever I think I've got it figured out there's always at least one line that doesn't really work.

regardless, the way he sings "holdin' hands and kissin' everybody" always floors me.

a spectator bird (a spectator bird), Thursday, 22 December 2005 16:54 (twelve years ago) Permalink

twelve years pass...

In my 2017 country Spotify list, whenever a track from Willie’s “God’s Problem Child” album pops up it’s great enough to make me want to pick up the LP. Superb guitar playing and his voice still sounds fantastic. He’s not Al Green-smooth like he was back in the day, but his phrasing and emphasis and the irreplaceable Willie-ness are still on point.

omar little, Saturday, 1 September 2018 17:36 (one month ago) Permalink

he frequently pops up in my release radar (seems like an album a year) and it's always good

niels, Saturday, 1 September 2018 18:50 (one month ago) Permalink

his phrasing and emphasis and the irreplaceable Willie-ness are still on point.

this is otm, both his playing and his vocals

rip van wanko, Saturday, 1 September 2018 19:26 (one month ago) Permalink

one month passes...

this guy is so classic, always a joy when he pops up on my release radar - like he did today with the delightful call to democratic arms: "Vote 'Em Out"

https://open.spotify.com/track/1YX1kcNiWLk1GVYEDWsaNg

niels, Friday, 12 October 2018 07:20 (five days ago) Permalink

god bless 'im

Οὖτις, Friday, 12 October 2018 15:47 (five days ago) Permalink


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