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Red Headed Stranger Extra tracks, Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered

207 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Extra tracks, Original recording reissued, July 4, 2000
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

THE outlaw country album, Red Headed Stranger's bare-bones sound was the perfect antidote to the glitzy Nashville Sound dominating the airwaves in the mid-'70s, and lent an understated majesty to this tale of a wandering preacher in the Old West. This deluxe version includes four bonus tracks-three unreleased!-plus the classic Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain .

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Though this 1975 album cost Willie only $20,000 to record, it handed him the success he'd craved after years as a hit songwriter and modestly successful singer. By blending originals and vintage material, he created a timeless Western saga, one that originally left Columbia Records, who'd guaranteed him artistic control, skeptical. The label's doubts, amplified by the fact that Nelson had recorded the album in Texas with only his seven-piece touring band, evaporated after the album and two singles, "Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain" and "Remember Me," became huge hits and launched Willie into the stratosphere. This enhanced version preserves the original sequence, adding four bonus tracks. One, a brief snippet of Bach's "Minuet in G" from the 1986 Red Headed Stranger film, is inconsequential. Three more, from the 1975 sessions, are enjoyable covers of Hank Williams's "I Can't Help It If I'm Still in Love with You," Bob Wills's "A Maiden's Prayer," and Pee Wee King's "Bonaparte's Retreat," footnotes to the original but welcome nonetheless. --Rich Kienzle

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 4, 2000)
  • Original Release Date: 2000
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Extra tracks, Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered
  • Label: Columbia / Legacy
  • ASIN: B00004U2G7
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (207 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,102 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

60 of 63 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 22, 1998
Format: Audio CD
A high school english teacher of mine had a saying, "Gentlemen, brevity is art." This album is as fine an example of this as you will find. Willie Nelson is one of the finest musicians/songwriters that I have ever heard. I am not a country fan as such, but I don't consider Willy to be a country musician, rather, his music is a hybrid of the kinds of music that he was exposed to growing up in Texas. I feel that Willie is as important to music as Dylan and Robert Johnson. On The Red Headed Stranger Willie manages to draw from old time ballads, gospel, blues, bluegrass, folk, Spanish-American and of course country. Musically this album is brilliant in its' simplicity. His guitar playing is sparse, but every note that he plays completely captures the feel of the song. The concertina that appears on a few of the tracks is haunting. His singing is perfect, he plays his voice like an instrument to capture every nuance of every song. Lyrically, this concept album is unbelievable. You don't so much listen to an album as live every step of story. Willy has a way of painting word picture with so few words.
"The bright lights of Denver, are shinin' like diamonds, Like ten thousand jewels in the sky, and it's nobodies business, where you're goin' or where you come from, and you're judged by the look in your eye."
If you are a music fan who has pre-judged Willie based on "On The Road Again" or "To All The Girls I've Loved Before", buy this album. I assure you that it won't be the last Willie album that you buy. Also, if you've never seen Willie live, don't miss him the next time he's anywhere near you.
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35 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Craig Clarke VINE VOICE on May 17, 2002
Format: Audio CD
It takes so many words just to describe this album, how can I give it justice in a review? I suppose to start with saying that music rarely elicits emotion from me. I tend to decide what I like merely by how something sounds on the surface, and with today's music, there isn't much else to go on. Well, on Red Headed Stranger, there is plenty of inherent emotion in every note.
The title song always pains me to hear, especially the moment that the rest of the song foreshadows so well. And when "they dance with smiles on their faces" in "Denver," I want to burst with happiness for our hero. "Hands on the Wheel" is one of the most beautiful love songs I have ever heard.
This story of betrayal, murder, and redemption through re-found love is full of nuance and little touches that are perfect. Nelson uses his voice as another instrument, never taking center stage but always blending in with the minimal guitar and backing, finally letting the piano express its pure joy on "Down Yonder."
These songs, almost all of which were written by different people, come together in an amazingly cohesive package. These choices show an inherent knowledge of storytelling--with its peaks and valleys--that carries throughout the arrangement of the album.
This is one of the great concept albums, and one of the great albums in general, of all time. It belongs in any music fan's library. I am not a country music fan, but I love what has been done with this album. It is a tight, well-told story, told in an inimitable fashion.
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Frank Garon on August 11, 2003
Format: Audio CD
I still dig "Phases And Stages" slightly more than this one, but dag nab is it still AWESOME in it's own right.
This is classic, classic music. Willie is an Artist First Class and this is nothing short of genius. Sparse, stripped down, powerful, hauntingly beautiful, these are just a few ways to describe it.
Willie is still putting out relevant music (see 2003's "Run That By Me One More Time" with Ray Price), but Red Headed Stranger is still as good today as it was all those years ago.
One more thought - if you want to see a Concert you'll never forget, go see Willie. Saw him twice in the 1980's, and he still ranks in First Place. Willie Live is Willie at his best!
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Anthony Frazer on September 5, 2000
Format: Audio CD
To me Willie Nelson is an artist who crosses borders, transcends boundaries with no problem. I see him as beyond categorization. I used to think he was a country singer but now I know he deserves the highest praise of all and that is to be called simply a singer.
Red Headed Stranger is a concept album which contains some of the most simple and beautifully written and arranged songs I believe you will ever hear from this near perfect singer. Don't be deceived by their simplicity, though. Allow yourself to fall into this album and make some time for it; don't put it on as backgound noise, but give it attention and have it as foreground MUSIC.
Willie's familiar and homely singing and percussive guitar sound are yet again at the very core of the music here but listen also for Bobbie Nelson's gospel piano at the foundation of most of these songs as well as the beautiful piano accordion which weaves itself in and out some songs here with stunning delicacy.
This remastered version of the album also SOUNDS brilliant. I don't know how the original version sounded or how it was mixed but the clarity of the mix here is superb.
The album also comes with a number of beautiful black and white photographs of Willie and band in the studio recording the album accompanied by an essay by Chet Flippo.
I have only owned this album for a few hours but the music it contains will be important to me for the rest of my life. It is that good.
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