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Naked Willie CD

4.3 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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Audio CD, CD, March 17, 2009
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Editorial Reviews

The ruling Nashville Sound forced Willie to soak his songs in strings and vocal choruses in the '60s and early '70s. Now, he's stripped those classics to the form he intended: his hits I'm a Memory; Bring Me Sunshine; The Party's Over; Johnny One Time , and Laying My Burdens Down , plus 12 more!
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 17, 2009)
  • Original Release Date: March 17, 2009
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Sony Legacy
  • Run Time: 48 minutes
  • ASIN: B001OOR6U8
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #79,379 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Nelson's longtime harmonica player Mickey Raphael "unproduced" these seventeen tracks from the original RCA multitrack masters, drawing material from 1967's The Party's Over and Other Great Willie Nelson Songs, 1969's My Own Peculiar Way, 1970's Laying My Burdens Down, 1971's Willie Nelson & Family, and a few rarities, including the 1968 single "Bring Me Sunshine," and the archive tracks "Jimmy's Road" from 1968 and "If You Could See What's Going Through My Mind" from 1970. The new mixes are stripped of strings and backing vocals, leaving Nelson's voice up front of rudimentary arrangements of guitar, bass, piano and drums, and occasional flourishes of vibraphone, steel and organ.

Unfortunately, the notion that these de-sweetened versions get to the roots of the songwriter's original vision is only half true, as Nelson and Raphael could only work with what was on the tapes, which includes unswinging Nashville-styled performances from studio A-listers. The basic tracks were purposely arranged as scaffolding upon which decoration was to be layered, distracting decoration perhaps, but decoration that was part of the original architecture. What's left sounds unfinished, rather than the original root of something that was embellished.
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Format: Audio CD
I have been a fan of Willie Nelson for many years, but I have never been a fan of the "Nashville sound" of the 1960s. This compilation takes away the distracting string sections and vocal choruses, and leaves Willie and his band - pure, simple, and to the point. These uncomplicated tracks sound clean, with a good balance on the mix. You can hear nuances that were buried in the original mixes.

I found it interesting that five of the songs on this compilation were originally released on "Laying My Burdens Down." It would be great to hear the rest of that classic RCA album produced in this same style, along with "My Own Peculiar Way," "Willie Nelson & Family" and other early RCA titles. Please give us MORE!!!
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Format: Audio CD
Willie Nelson remains one of the most overcompilationified recording artists around. We've all seen his "Greatest" and his "Essential," never mind the 4,942 budget "Best of" compilations. It's enough to make any fan skeptical about any collection bearing his name.

But Naked Willie rises above most, if not all, of them. It's as essential as Red Headed Stranger, and that's seriously high praise.

Like Red Headed Stranger, Naked Willie is built on a theme. However, the theme here is related to how the material literally sounds versus its subject matter.

In this case, the theme is simply what would his songs would've sounded like were he the producer back in the 1960s and early 1970s. Back then, country stars small and big alike were given the high-gloss "Nashville sound" treatment made famous (never mind insanely popular) by Chet Atkins.

Don't get me wrong; the Nashville sound is almost always recognizable and quite often fantastic. But for every artist who was helped by all the extra strings, horns and vocals, there were those whose efforts were diminished by them. Willie Nelson clearly falls into the latter, and this CD is all about the magic that happens once those layers are stripped away. Leaving the music "naked," and yes, inspiring the CD's title.

The results are nothing short of glorious. Here, the songs are what is brought to the fore, plain and simple -- Willie and the hired hand musicians playing their brains out....Willie's vocal skills perhaps at their absolute peak....playful tunes...sad tunes...even some subjects that some could call "controversial."

Kudos to the producer and audio engineer who handled all the "unproduction" needed to make this such a treat.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I am a great great fan of Mr Willie Nelson and didn't have this CD in my collection yet! Now I do and am very happy about that!! Thank you for your great and straightforward service...You have yet to disappoint me and I know that is not going to happen! I enjoyed the songs!
~Marianne...
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Format: Audio CD
It's no wonder these recordings sound so good, there's Jerry Reed, Grady Martin, on guitar, Jimmy Day on steel, and other well known studio musicians on board with Willie, his fourteen written songs, and his ever so flat baritone voice. One thing I never liked about Willie's early recordings were the background singers and the orchestration, now we get to hear the clean product, "without or naked", remastered and remixed. Most of the songs were seldom heard on here, recorded 1966 to 1970, the RCA Chet Atkins production days... one song that really stands out, "Jimmy's Road" describes a kid growing up his hometown, goes off to war, and trains to kill, until the soldier reaches his own fatal end, the unsung hero, remarkably written by Nelson. "The Ghost" is another song written about a haunting love from the past coming back, only to disappear again through the darkness of the night. One of the few covers on here, the Kristofferson standard, "Sunday Morning Coming Down" is the best version of this tune I've ever heard, if not the most original. The song starts with the bridge or chorus, rather than the verse, listen for the Marshall Tucker intro, the tight arrangements, as Willie Nelson sings Kristofferson real proud, ... Willie always had a touch of Jazz, if you listen real close you'll hear it within these seventeen classic songs, a great Willie Nelson compilation, now it's high time for Willie unplugged... brand new 2009 R.C.A. release straight from the archives, these recordings are real good.
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