Willie Nelson - Don't Know A Thing About Love
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Don't Know A Thing About Love (Sony Legacy, 2023)

Willie Nelson

Reviewed by George Hauenstein

Who doesn't love and respect Willie Nelson? Willie, even at age 90, could sing the phone book – perhaps he has – and it would be worth hearing.

Willie's latest is a tribute to the songwriting of Harlan Howard, the dean of country music songwriters, who passed away in 2002. Howard once described country music as "three chords and the truth." Howard wrote hundreds of country hits during his career. Nelson and producer Buddy Cannon picked 10 to showcase here, including the title track, 'Busted,' 'Streets of Baltimore, "Life Turned Her That Way" and ''Tiger By The Tail," which became synonymous with Buck Owens.

Nelson's tribute is a true country album, complete with steel guitar and the signature sounds of so many of Nelson's recordings - the unmistakable harmonica of Mickey Raphael and Willie's own guitar, Trigger.

Nelson is in fine voice here, especially on cuts like the title track, "Tiger By The Tail" and on "Excuse Me (I Think I've Got A Heartache)." This is a happy surprise given his age. The songs are straightforward in their delivery, and the arrangements sound similar to the hit versions cut by other country singers over the years.

The downside is that it's too short. Only 10 songs. Indeed, there are so many more of Howard's classic songs to choose from, so three or four more would've been appreciated.

Still, this is a fine tribute to an old friend, a good primer on the songs of Harlan Howard and best of all, a really enjoyable listen.

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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