Willie Nelson - One Hell Of A Ride - CD01 of 04
Audio CD: April 1, 2008
Original Release Date: April 1, 2008
Number of Discs: 4
Format: Box set
Bitrate: 192-320 kbps
This box contains a wealth of American music, plus a couple of jewels--Django Reinhardt's "Nuages" and Jimmy Cliff's "The Harder They Come" ~ from beyond these shores.
"Here are 100 songs commemorating Willie Nelson's incredible journey by going full circle. "When I've Sang My Last Hillbilly Song," leading off Disc One, was recorded in 1954 or '55; it is reprised on Disc Four's final track, updated in 2007. Between those years Nelson, a Depression era kid who grew up dirt poor in Abbott, Texas, became one of the world's most recognizable figures, in the music/entertainment business or otherwise. One Hell Of A Ride is, quite simply, the most all-encompassing Nelson retrospective ever assembled. In addition to all of its glorious music, this package also features incisive words in an essay by Nelson's biographer, Joe Nick Patoski, whose Willie Nelson: An Epic Life was published in 2008. There's also a brief reminiscence by Mickey Raphael, Nelson's longtime harmonica player, that is funny and affecting. Finally, there is the man himself, who on April 30, 2008 turned 75. The songs herein, many of them touchstones, some lesser known gems, reflect the musical sense and sensibility of an artist for all ages, and for the ages."
Come on stop nit pickin'. Seems like everyone has his or her favorite song that's not included on this collection. The problem is Willie has been so prolific for the past twenty five years, that it would be impossible to satisfy everyone even if they had made this a five or six disc collection. All I know is this is a great collection and I'm delighted to find one hundred of Willie's greatest songs all in one collection.
With that said I would like to see a few of Willie's great albums like "Angel Eyes", "Without A Song", "Islands In The Sea" and the "Songwriter" soundtrack (with Kris Kristofferson) reissued. Or maybe Atlantic Records would have the good sense to reissue their terrific three disc collection "Classic & Unreleased". Then again I guess that's a bit of nit pickin' on my part. ~ Shell-Zee
To be sure, there's no shortage of Willie Nelson best-ofs out there, but this far-flung 4-CD set is a real doozy. It draws on Willie's work from a number of labels, including former rivals RCA and Columbia ( now both part of Sony-BMG ) as well as early '60s recordings on Liberty (owned by EMI), a couple of tracks from his lone mid-period album for Atlantic and various offerings on Universal over the last ten years.
It's a fitting tribute to Nelson, a prolific trendsetter and stubborn iconoclast whose seventy-fifth birthday coincides with the album's release. The collection starts out with a prehistoric demo that Willie made around 1954 or '55, back before his early success as the songwriter of hits such as "Crazy" and "Nite Life..." Even back then, working in the real hillbilly days when Nashville was only beginning to consolidate its power as the center of a new country music industry, Willie had an odd, exceptional air about him. His phrasing was already a little bit weird and his sense of rhythm was kinda cock-eyed. This collection moves from early hillbilly gems such as "No Place For Me" ( an indie single that Willie self-released back in 1957 ), into his early work for RCA, a period that yields several off-the-radar gems, even though Nelson found the Nashville studio system creatively frustrating...
The playlists of this four CD set are not organized in strictly chronological order -- there's a much-welcomed, intelligently thought-out aesthetic at play, which can pair a song from one era with another that compliments it in interesting ways. The big hits are there (although not all of them) but they are sandwiched between less well-known material that more fully illuminates Nelson's creative trajectories. After the "outlaw" era, Discs Three and Four take us into Willie's years of superstardom, and his long run of reinterpreting old standards and teaming up with old pals and heroes, first on a series of duet albums, and then on the Highwaymen records. It's all dutifully sampled, although nothing touches the transcendent beauty of "Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain," which is one of the most brilliant works of country revivalism, and possibly Nelson's finest moment as a song stylist: even with all the other great songs included here, that's the one song that I find myself playing over and over again, even after all these years.
The packaging is pretty cool, too -- it's eco-friendly, with soft cardboard slipcases instead of plastic trays, so it may feel a little unusual at first... But the real treat is the glossy booklet, which has a wealth of super-groovy photographs taken at all stages of Nelson's career, as well as pictures of all of his LPs ever released, which is also pretty neat.
Happy Birthday, Willie!! Thanks for all the great gifts! ~ DJ Joe Sixpack, Slipcue Music Reviews
Willie Nelson - One Hell Of A Ride - CD01 of 04
01- When I've Sang My Last Hillbilly Song
02- No Place For Me
03- Man With The Blues
04- Nite Life
05- Hello Walls
06- Funny How Time Slips Away
08- Half A Man
09- Mr. Record Man
10- One In A Row
11- The Party's Over
12- Texas In My Soul
13- Good Times
14- Sweet Memories
15- Little Things
16- Any Old Arms Won't Do
17- Everybody's Talkin'
18- Pins And Needles (In My Heart)
19- Once More With Feeling
20- I Gotta Get Drunk
21- Laying My Burdens Down
22- What Can You Do To Me Now
23- Kneel At The Feet Of Jesus
24- I'm A Memory
25- Family Bible
26- Summer Of Roses
27- Yesterday's Wine
28- Me And Paul
29- The Words Don't Fit The Picture