Willie Nelson - Willie & Family Live
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Willie & Family Live (Columbia, 2003)

Willie Nelson

Reviewed by Rick Bell

Willie Nelson was still doing it his way, as this re-release of his double live album proved. It contained all the pops, squeals, missed mikes and sour notes of any Willie Nelson concert. Yet it was as powerful a statement as any artist at the top of his game could make. Willie had recorded a live album in his earlier years with RCA. But this was truly Willie live - doing his medley of "Funny How Time Slips Away/Crazy/Night Life," jamming on "Bloody Mary Morning" and belting out a solo version, just Willie and his beat-up old classical guitar with the hole in it, on Leon Russell's "Song for You."

The bonus tracks are few, which would be disappointing if they weren't so good. It's the uptempo version of "Good Hearted Woman" and an absolutely killer version of Rodney Crowell's "Til I Gain Control Again."

This album represented Willie in 1978, and still paints an accurate picture of a Willie Nelson concert. A few pops, a few whistles, the Texas flag dropping when he opens with "Whiskey River" and the American flag dropping when he closes with "Whiskey River."

Whether it's 1978 or 2003, it's still Willie. And how many of us can say we're at least as good as we were back then? OK, the movie sucked. In fact, the only reason worth sitting through this flick about cheating, drinking and partying was the soundtrack.

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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