Willie Nelson - To Lefty from Willie
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To Lefty from Willie (Columbia, 2003)

Willie Nelson

Reviewed by Rick Bell

Willie Nelson turned 70 in April, and much like it did to honor Johnny Cash during his 70th year, Columbia Records is re-releasing some of Willie's best albums from his most productive years.

Among the re-releases to commemorate Willie's 70th birthday, "To Lefty from Willie" doesn't distinguish itself, yet it stands up pretty well. This Willie Nelson 1977 tribute to Lefty Frizzell really is just another Willie Nelson record. Willie croons, the band picks, and 10 songs later - 11 in this case - the record is over. This album originally clocked in at an amazingly brisk 28 minutes. With the addition of a previously unrecorded version of "If You've Got the Money" it barely surpasses 30 minutes.

Despite the brevity, this is Willie at his bare minimum, retro-country outlaw finest. Reaching back for Lefty's hits and then some, Spartan production and thankfully restrained Willie vibrato produces some wonderful moments. "Always Late" could have been a Willie croakfest, and Willie restrains his sometimes wild picking on "Gone, Gone, Gone."

Willie deftly mingles his shuffles and waltzes with some mighty fine back-porch pickers, especially "I Never Go Around Mirrors" and "That's the Way Love Goes." It's one among Willie's Columbia catalog - certainly not the best, but nothing to hide either.

CDs by Willie Nelson

Bluegrass, 2023 Don't Know A Thing About Love, 2023 A Beautiful Time, 2022 That's Life, 2021 First Rose of Spring, 2020 Ride Me Back Home, 2019 My Way, 2018 Last Man Standing, 2018 Willie's Stash Volume 2, 2017 God's Problem Child, 2017 Summertime Willie Nelson Sings Gershwin, 2016 Band of Brothers, 2014 To All the Girls..., 2013 Let's Face the Music and Dance, 2013 Freedom, 2012 Remember Me Vol. 1, 2011 Country Music, 2010 American Classic, 2009 Lost Highway, 2009 Naked Willie, 2009 One Hell of a Ride, 2008 Moment of Forever, 2008 Songbird, 2006 Live From Austin, TX, 2006 Songs of Cindy Walker, 2006 You Don't Know Me: The Songs of Cindy Walker, 2006

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