Monday, June 26, 2017

Willie Nelson - Legends of the Grand Ole Opry

This CD contains live recordings of Willie early in his career - from 1964-1967 - "singing his early hits live!". Porter Wagoner introduces Willie for his first appearance as a member of the Opry and he runs through early songs such as the pedal-steel-fueled "Touch Me", the upbeat country swing of "Mr. Record Man", the melancholy ballad "Part Where I Cry" (a sadder version of Buck Owens' "Act Naturally"), the flamingo-ish "I Never Cared For You" (fine guitar playing here), a song that Perry Como covered, "My Own Peculiar Way", a hit of his for Claude Gray, "Family Bible", and one of his most famous numbers, thanks to other people's versions, "Funny How Time Slips Away".

He presents another country bopper in "There'll Be No Teardrops Tonight", shows off his voice in a ballad, "Healing Hands of Time", gives a mid-tempo piece in "One Day at a Time" (with some pretty, reverbed guitar), he covers "Fraulein" as a nice country standard, back to his own for "Darkness on the Face of the Earth", "She's Not For You" (another maudlin ballad) and his hit for Faron Young, "Hello Walls".

The sound varies on these recordings - the latter ones having a better mix, logically - but the musicians are all strong and the performances are solid. Very cool to hear Willie live this early in his career!