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Willie Nelson & Friends - Live & Kickin' Import

4 out of 5 stars 44 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Import, June 24, 2003
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

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The great Willie Nelson tends to either thrill or sorely disappoint, depending on the kinds of projects he takes on--and his decision to be either a musician or a celebrity. This live recording, culled from his 2003 USA Network concert event, unfortunately falls into the latter category, and Nelson sounds as if he arrived just before show time and plunged in without rehearsing. On the album’s opener, "I Didn't Come Here (And I Ain't Leavin')," almost everything is wrong--the chorines, the overwhelming bigness of the production, and most troublesome, Nelson's apparent indifference. Thereafter, the program pairs him with such natural duet partners as Toby Keith and Ray Price, and such utterly unfathomable ones as Steven Tyler and Wyclef Jean, who prove, by turns, unlistenable and insufferable. While Diana Krall and Elvis Costello help give "Crazy" an odd and new kind of charm, Nelson's off-beat phrasing is just to quirky to work with Paul Simon's laconic musings ("Homeward Bound"), while the outing with Ray Charles and Leon Russell ("A Song for You") sounds like a cat-drowning ceremony. Weirdly, the best songs are those on which Nelson simply gets out of the way (John Mellencamp's bottleneck romp through "I Couldn't Believe It Was True," Kenny Chesney's soulful treatment of "Last Thing I Needed First Thing This Morning"). Thank God it's only a single disc. --Alanna Nash
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 24, 2003)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Lost Highway
  • ASIN: B00009KTWT
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #17,134 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Willie Nelson Live & Kickin' delivers the goods! Sure Wyclef Jean is no Julio Iglesias on "To All The Girls I've Loved Before," but so what. His quirky interpretation is not the catastrophe others have claimed it to be.
Such quibbles about an offbeat interpretation or two do not dilute the overall charm and fun of this disc, especially Willie and Toby Keith kickin' it all out on "Beer For My horses." (If there is any justice, radio stations will replace the studio version of "Horses" with the live version heard here -- the way the live "Okie from Muskogee" replaced the original studio version on the radio airwaves in 1970 and has now become the version of choice for Merle Haggard fans.)
Other stand-outs include Shania and Willie on "Blue Eyes Cryin' In The Rain," and the offbeat coupling of Willie and Nora Jones on "Wurlitzer Prize," originally made a classic by Willie's late, great good buddy Waylon Jennings.
I thoroughly enjoyed this CD and would recommend it to anyone who loves Willie and his music -- and is not afraid to hear these songs in a refreshing and different light.
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Format: Audio CD
Let me say upfront that I love Willie Nelson, and I believe him to be a national treasure and one of our greatest living storytellers/poets. The setting for this recording is Willie's 70th birthday. As Toby Keith mentioned on the original USA television version, "Willie may not look 70, but we sure remember when he did."
What makes this CD unique is that it features a very eclectic mix of musicians accompanying Willie in versions of popular songs (both his and theirs). The songs with Paul Simon, Eric Clapton and Ray Charles/Leon Russell provide entertaining performances that are also important moments in music history. It would be like having a recording of Lennon and Hendrix singing together.
Willie has recorded with everyone from Frank Sinatra to Janis Joplin. So, it is not a surprise that some of his guests on this CD may seem strange (Steven Tyler and Wyclef Jean). While many say his voice doesn't work with more polished singers, I think he provides an interesting contrast to the silky vocals of Norah Jones and Dianne Krall.
There seems to be a common theme among the positive and negative reviews on here: the positive reviews contain references to the television broadcast that proceeded the release of this CD and the negative ones do not. This seems to suggest the experience of listening to the music is heightened by viewing the live performances, and I agree.
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By A Customer on June 28, 2003
Format: Audio CD
I was so excited about the TV special I went the next day and put my name on the waiting list for the cd... I LOVE the cd... BUT they left off some of the best song from the tv program.. Where else can we hear Toby Keith sing his infamous I won't smoke weeed with Willie again... And why leave out Lyle Lovett and Shania Twain. Come on guys give us the entire show on cd or better yet DVD...Thank goodness I taped it. I will just keep watching my tape till I am able to get the entire show on cd or dvd... at any price.... If you don't like this you are not a music lover....
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Format: Audio CD
I SAW THE SPECIAL, AND HAVE LISTENED TO THE CD. I WAS VERY IMPRESSED. IF YOU'RE LOOKING FOR THE USUAL WILLIE, SKIP THIS ONE. BUT IF WANT TO HEAR SOME OF TODAYS MOST INFLUENCIAL ARTISTS, JOINING IN WITH A LEDGEND, THEN GIVE THIS ONE A TRY. SURE WILLIE IS A LITTLE OUT OF HIS ELEMENT WITH SOME OF THESE SONGS, BUT LETS BE REAL, HE'S A 70 YEAR OLD COUNTRY SINGER. YET IF YOU SAW THE SPECIAL, YOU COULD SEE THE LOVE THESE ARTISTS HAVE FOR HIM.AND WILLIE HELD HIS OWN, WHETHER IT WAS STEVE TYLER, OR SHANIA TWAIN, HE WAS THERE, AND THE OLD BOY CAN TRUELY PICK I GUTIAR. SO IF YOU WANT TO HEAR SOME OLD TIME FAVORITES, DONE A LITTLE DIFFERENT, GIVE THIS ONE A TRY... I LIKE IT
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Format: Audio CD
Recorded over a Two-day period and originally aired on the USA network last Memorial Day, Live and Kickin' shows Willie Nelson at the top of his career. He is joined onstage by Eric Clapton, Ray Charles, Wyclef Jean, Elvis Costello, Paul Simon, and ZZ Top to name a few. The album is a plethora of musical exploration, showing different sides of Nelson as a musician, and proving that he is as dynamic as they come. He appeals to diehard country fans, but Homeward Bound with Paul Simon is closer to folk, and To All The Girl's I Loved Before with Wyclef is more along the lines of Reggae. The solo tracks could only be described as haunting and tortured in a twangy sort of way. The immense crowds' reaction hangs on to every one of his words, honoring him like the accomplished road-veteran he is.
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Format: Audio CD
I don't know the circumstances of this recording, though it may have been a celebration of Willie's 70th birthday. I find it odd that an album apparently recorded live has no patter, even if only to introduce the guests. Some very clever editing was done, but the end result (once I got used to it) is wonderful.

As I've come to expect from Willie, his duet partners can be anybody from a variety of musical genres, and that is reflected in the range of partners here. The opening track is a solo by Willie, after which each song features a different partner, except Crazy where both Diana Krall and Elvis Costello join in.

I cannot fault the performances. It seems that Wyclef Jean's contribution is not appreciated by everybody, but I love it. This is supposed to be a live album, after al. My favourite track is Angel flying too close to the ground, wher Shelby Lynne excels, but the others are not far behind.

Given that this is a live album, it's not what I expected, but it is very enjoyable.
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