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Admirable Nelson

Finding my way out here as a lonely Englishman in countryville I was put onto the fantastic music of Willie Nelson by a trusted mentor. First I was struck by Willie’s ability to capture the conversation of regular folk in his songs and turn them into magical, meaningful songs that pass the test of time - and space. Crazy has a great pre-rock n roll big band/swing feel to it, although I can hear some Buddy Holly in there too. Great fusion that takes Nelson away from the 9 to 5 coalface of country western, where he excels in equal measure. The City Of New Orleans is a brilliantly told story song, the southbound odyssey with the rhythm of the rails, Pullman porters aboard rolling past the graveyards of automobiles – this is cinematic stuff. Good Hearted Woman is a timeless work that could be set today and still make a mighty splash. Meanwhile Funny How Time Slips Away is a vintage example of Willie doing what I suggest he does best – the conversational story that he could be whispering into your ear right now. Hello Walls – again, the same brilliant talking feel – I feel Willie confiding through his music with an honesty most songwriters seldom dare to reach. Then Highwayman sees Nelson delve into the futuristic realm in the last verse, which is reassuring for the next generation – he’s got his eye on not only his contemporary era but also those yet to come. Whiskey River don’t you whisk our Willie away any time soon! Seven Spanish Angels is a masterpiece – surely partly inspired by Romeo and Juliet – but the true storytellers like Nelson will tell us that every story has already been told - only the characters and settings may change. But don’t you go changing Willie: you’ll always get the salute from me.

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