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Everyone Loves a Little Willie!

  • Mar 3, 2009
  • by
 Over the years, Willie Nelson has put out so many brilliant songs that cross boundaries and certainly stand out when you hear them on the radio.  I got a feeling the majority of people can hear his voice and instantly recognize it...and then start singing along because we all know the song!  Well...ok, maybe the fact that I am from Texas makes me a bit biased, but I bet most people can pick him out of a lineup because the man does stand out.  He has worked with many great artists over the years (too many to list here) beyond the country realm and he is not afraid to try different genres of music--his blues album and reggae albums stand out in my mind.   He genuinely likes what he does and he seems to have even more fun now by playing great music with his friends.  This album is another great collaboration album from Willie in which he continues to put down in a recording the fun he is having singing.  
  On this album, Asleep at the Wheel is the lucky band that gets to jam with Willie doing what they do best!  They have won nine Grammy's for being the best Texas swing band around.  Again the fact that I am from Austin, Texas might make me a little biased.  But I admit that I bought their music even before meeting Ray Benson, the charismatic 6'7" leader of the band, so that did not influence me at all!!  I love the music and I have seen them perform live, so I truly can appreciate their showmanship and passion for the music they play.  They have also done a couple of tributes to Bob Wills--the Texas Swing King, so who better to record a Texas swing album with!?  The music is Texas Swing at its best - part country, part ragtime Dixie and part jazz swing.  
  I dare you to listen to the song "Hesitation Blues" and not have your toes tapping along to the horns and smiling to the easy going "old-timey" New Orleans jazz feel of the tune.  On the song "I Ain't Gonna Give You None..." the slide guitar will amaze you while you picture Woody Allen salivating at the clarinet playing.  The song "South" was a million seller when it was originally released by Bob Wills -- in 1927!!  As Ray Benson himself says; "We recorded the song about the same time we were doing a benefit for Habitat for Humanity with David Letterman in Austin so it was natural for our good friend Paul Shaffer to join us for the session. We were also fortunate enough to have the talented Vince Gill lend his electric guitar licks on this track." It really does seem like they had fun recording the album and it certainly does ooze out when you give it a listen!!  Try it..you'll see! 
Willie and the Wheel!

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review by . March 03, 2009
posted in Music Matters
Willie Nelson
In 1982, CBS records released a series of five 2 LP sets featuring the music of the legendary Okeh records.  Okeh began life as an independent record label in 1918 and became a subsidiary of Columbia records in the late 1920's.  Each one of the five releases in this series featured a different genre of music including Blues, Country, Soul, Rhythm & Blues and Western Swing.  I purchased three of these sets and was most impressed by the album devoted to "Western …
About the reviewer
Arthur "A. D." Dungan ()
Ranked #722
I live in the "Live Music Capital of the World" and over the last 15 years I have done my best to cover the scene. I do as much as I can to contribute to my community and luckily I live in a great city … more
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It was just a matter of time before Willie Nelson cut a record with fellow Texan legends Asleep at the Wheel: Willie may duet with anybody who wanders onto his bus, but he and the Wheel have a shared background in Western swing, a background they explore thoroughly on 2009's Willie and the Wheel. If it seems like Willie and the Wheel should have cut an album together a little earlier than 2009, well, they almost did. During Nelson's seminal stint at Atlantic in the early '70s, producer/label head Jerry Wexler urged Willie to record a duet album with the Wheel, but Nelson left the label before it could happen. The idea was revived when Wexler saw Asleep at the Wheel open for Nelson in 2007 and soon enough, the two parties got together to run through a bunch of standards. Surprise isn't the order of the day on Willie and the Wheel; it's pretty easy to guess the songbook just based on the collaboration and sure enough, there's a hefty dose of Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys -- "Right or Wrong," "Bring it on Down to My House," "Corrine Corrina" -- and a bunch of Milton Brown, Cliff Bruner, and Spade Cooley. Chances are, many of the songs would have remained the same if this had been cut back in the early '70s, but the spirit is much different. Back then, the teaming would have been the sound of young insurgents creating their own bridge to the past, but this is the sound of the old guard settling in and doing what they do best, laying back instead of pushing forward, enjoying ...

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Label: Bismeaux Records
Genre: Western Swing
Release Date: February 3, 2009

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