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Willie Nelson - The Complete Atlantic Sessions 
An observation by Cheryl Harvey Hill

As 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 entertainer.

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

This 3-CD 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.

The legendary 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.



Rhino 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.

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THE COMPLETE 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 Away."

Nelson's 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."


Track Listing

Disc 1

1. "Shotgun Willie"
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"

Bonus Tracks

13. "I 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" - Outtake*

Disc 2

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)

Bonus Tracks

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" - Alternate Version*
15. "Bloody Mary Morning" - Alternate Version*
16. "No Love Around" - Alternate Version*
17. "I Still Can't Believe You're Gone" - Alternate Version*
18. "It's Not Supposed To Be That Way" - Alternate Version*
19. "Heaven And Hell" - Alternate Version/Duet Vocal*
20. Phases And Stages (Theme) "Pick Up The Tempo"
21. Phases And Stages (Theme) - Alternate Version*

Disc 3

1. "Whiskey River"
2. "Me And Paul"
3. Medley:
"Funny How Time Slips Away", "Crazy", "Night Life" 
4. "Stay All Night (Stay A Little Longer)"
5. "Walkin'"
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"

Bonus Tracks

12. "Shotgun Willie"*
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*

*Previously Unreleased

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Related Links:
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