Willie Nelson - The Complete
An observation by
Cheryl Harvey Hill
I sat down at my computer to write about the new boxed set
from Willie Nelson, it occurred to me that anything I write at
this point would, not only be redundant, but totally
unnecessary. Many years ago, after seeing him in concert for
the second time, I wrote the following: His voice is as worn
as the jeans he wears and as unique as the, now famous,
pigtails. The voice is also as unique as the man. We have
come to trust the integrity of his lyrics and readily identify
with many of them. He delivers the music from a place in
his soul that gives it wings and sends it straight to the
heart of those who hear it. With only his voice, he can
invoke every human emotion from anyone who hears him.
He has never
"bought in" or "sold out" to a commercial
vision of country music. Without apologies or a need to
explain why he does what he does, the way that he does, he
just does it and nobody does it better. It is William
Hugh Nelson the songwriter that created Willie Nelson the
troubadour and consummate singer. Country music is a
world dominated by words and the strength of Nelson's songs
are in his lyrics. But it is the man, who has remained
true to himself, that sets him apart and makes him a beloved
No one else has
a voice like his. His incredible talent for writing music and
playing the guitar is just as unique. When God made Willie,
unfortunately, He really did throw away the mold. There is
only one Willie Nelson.
On June 20th,
Rhino Records released a Willie Nelson 3-CD boxed set, The
Complete Atlantic Sessions.
boxed set is the first to spotlight Willie's historic
Atlantic output in its entirety. Disc one presents 1973's
David Briggs/Arif Mardin-produced debut Shotgun Willie,
remastered and expanded with 12 bonus tracks. Disc two
presents Willie's first concept album, 1974's Jerry Wexler-produced
Phases And Stages, remastered and expanded with
ten bonus tracks. Disc three presents the Wexler-produced
in-concert classic Live At The Texas Opry House,
expanded with five bonus tracks.
career of Texas-born music icon Willie Nelson has spanned six
decades. He first rose to fame as a Nashville-based
songwriter, penning many now-timeless standards, including
"Crazy," a smash hit for Patsy Cline. Feeling
constrained by the Nashville establishment, Willie relocated
to Austin, Texas, in the early 1970s, where the merging of
rock and country audiences made a huge impression on him. He
began fusing folk and roots-rock with a rebellious
"outlaw" country flavor, inventing an authentic,
stripped-down sound that remains vastly influential. At this
pivotal point in his evolution, Willie signed to Atlantic
Records, delivering two signature studio albums revered as
all-time masterpieces: Shotgun Willie and Phases And
Stages. This boxed set presents Live At The Texas Opry
House, recorded during the same period, as a stand-alone
disc for the first time ever.
Raids Willie Nelson's Stash With Atlantic Sessions
LOS ANGELES -
If it's true that you can't make a record if you ain't got
nothing to say, then music icon Willie Nelson had enough on
his mind in the early 70s for back-to-back classics on
Atlantic Records. Rhino Records tips its hat to the Red Headed
Stranger from Abbott, Texas, with WILLIE NELSON: THE COMPLETE
ATLANTIC SESSIONS. The three-disc collection is available from
Rhino June 20 at regular retail outlets and at www.rhino.com
for a suggested list price of $39.98.
ATLANTIC SESSIONS contains remastered versions of Nelson's two
groundbreaking Atlantic releases-Shotgun Willie, his 1973
debut and "possibly his finest album ever" (All
Music Guide), and Phases And Stages, his 1974 follow-up and
"one of the great concept albums overall" (All Music
Guide)-expanded with studio outtakes, alternate versions, and
unreleased music. The third disc, Live at The Texas Opry
House, features rare and unreleased performances recorded in
Austin in 1974.
Recorded in New
York, Shotgun Willie marked Nelson's break with Nashville and
the city's monolithic sound. Touching on everything from
redneck rock and Texas swing to "Sad Songs And
Waltzes," the album's freewheeling spirit helped spark
the outlaw country movement with songs like the
horn-punctuated title track, a cover Bob Wills' "Stay All
Night (Stay A Little Longer)" as well as "Whiskey
River," Nelson's customary show opener for more than 30
years. The expanded version of Shotgun Willie features 12
bonus tracks, half of which are previously unreleased
including alternate takes of "Whiskey River" and
"A Song For You" along with outtakes of "Save
Your Tears" and "I Drank All Of Our Precious Love
follow-up, Phases And Stages, was one of country's earliest
concept records and remains one of its best. Telling the story
of a failing marriage, the first side of the album is
dedicated to songs from his perspective while the other is
devoted to songs from her point of view. Recorded in Muscle
Shoals by legendary producer, Jerry Wexler the album featured
some of Nelson's most poignant writing including "Pretend
I Never Happened," "I Still Can't Believe You're
Gone," and "It's Not Supposed To Be That Way."
The expanded version of Phases And Stages features ten bonus
tracks including eight previously unreleased songs such as an
alternate versions of "Bloody Mary Morning,"
"No Love Around," and "Heaven And Hell."
The final disc,
Live at The Texas Opry House, contains 16 live performances by
Nelson and his band‹steel guitarist Jimmy Day; fiddler
Johnny Gimble; pianist Bobbie Nelson; bassist, Bea Spears;
drummer Paul English; and Mickey Raphael on harmonica.
Recorded by Wexler June 29 and 30, 1974 at The Texas Opry
House in Austin, the album captures the band blazing through
"Whiskey River," "Me And Paul," and
"Good Hearted Woman." While many of the performances
featured here debuted on Rhino's out-of-print 1993 album, The
Classic, Unreleased Collection, five performances are
previously unreleased including "Shotgun Willie,"
"You Look Like The Devil," an electric version of
"Bloody Mary Morning" as well as a medley of
Nelson's early hits, "Funny How Time Slips Away,"
"Crazy," and "Night Life."
COMPLETE ATLANTIC SESSIONS
2. "Whiskey River"
3. "Sad Songs And Waltzes"
4. "Local Memory"
5. "Slow Down Old World"
6. "Stay All Night (Stay A Little Longer)"
7. "Devil In A Sleeping Bag"
8. "She's Not For You"
9. "Bubbles In My Beer"
10. "You Look Like The Devil"
11. "So Much To Do"
12. "A Song For You"
Gotta Have Something I Ain't Got" - Outtake
14. "I'm So Ashamed" - Outtake
15. "My Cricket & Me" - Solo Outtake
16. "Both Ends Of the Candle" - Outtake
17. "Slowdown Old World" - Alternate Version
18. "Under The Double Eagle" - Outtake
19. "So Much To Do" - Alternate Version
20. "My Cricket & Me - Band Outtake*
21. "Save Your Tears - Outtake*
22. "A Song For You" - Alternate Version*
23. "Whiskey River" - Alternate Version*
24. "I Drank All Of Our Precious Love Away" -
1. Phases And
Stages (Theme) "Washing The Dishes"
2. Phases And Stages (Theme) "Walkin'"
3. "Pretend I Never Happened"
4. "Sister's Coming Home"
"Down At The Corner Beer Joint"
5. "(How Will I Know) I'm Falling In Love Again"
6. "Bloody Mary Morning"
7. Phases And Stages (Theme)
"No Love Around"
8. "I Still Can't Believe You're Gone"
9. "It's Not Supposed To Be That Way"
10. "Heaven And Hell"
11. Phases And Stages (Theme)
"Pick Up The Tempo"
Phases And Stages (Theme)
12. Phases And
Stages (Theme) - Alternate Version*
"Washing The Dishes" - Alternate Version*
13. "Sister's Coming Home" - Alternate Version*
"Down At The Corner Beer Joint" - Alternate Version*
14. Phases And Stages (Theme) - Alternate Version*
"(How Will I Know) I'm Falling In Love Again" -
15. "Bloody Mary Morning" - Alternate Version*
16. "No Love Around" - Alternate Version*
17. "I Still Can't Believe You're Gone" - Alternate
18. "It's Not Supposed To Be That Way" - Alternate
19. "Heaven And Hell" - Alternate Version/Duet
20. Phases And Stages (Theme) "Pick Up The Tempo"
21. Phases And Stages (Theme) - Alternate Version*
2. "Me And Paul"
3. Medley: "Funny How
Time Slips Away", "Crazy", "Night
4. "Stay All Night (Stay A Little Longer)"
6. "Bloody Mary Morning/Take Me Back To Tulsa"
7. "The Party's Over"
8. "Truck Drivin' Man"
9. "She Thinks I Still Care"
10. "Good Hearted Woman"
11. "Sister's Comin' Home"
13. "You Look Like The Devil"*
14. "Bloody Mary Morning" - Electric Guitar Version*
15. Medley:* "Funny How Time Slips Away",
"Crazy", "Night Life"
16. "Willie's After Hours" - Studio Track*
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