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Rainbow Connection

4.0 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews

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Audio CD, June 12, 2001
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Product Description

Rainbow Connection by Willie Nelson

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This charming, super-casual collection began as a children's record and later became a "family" record--a designation that reflects the contributions of Nelson's daughter Amy as well as the inclusion of more "adult" material. It's difficult to think of another artist who'd pull together such a unique selection of songs. Nelson tackles odd kid-friendly little ditties from country's past such as "I'm My Own Grandpa" (a 1948 hit for Lonzo & Oscar), the Western swing favorite "Won't You Ride in My Little Red Wagon," and Jimmie Dolan's boogie "Playin' Dominoes and Shootin' Dice," a drinking-and-fighting song that is presumably a cautionary tale for the little ones. The more traditional children's fare ("Four Leaf Clover," "Playmate," title track) comes early on, but by the end of the disc Nelson seems to have lost interest in the album's original premise, moving to hardcore blues ("Outskirts of Town"), Mickey Newbury's psychedelic folk rock ("I Just Dropped In"--daddy, how do you trip on a cloud?), and Newbury's sober, complex "33rd of August." Amy Nelson wrote and sang two delightful kiddie tunes while papa Willie adds one new original, the jaunty, optimistic "Wouldn't Have It Any Other Way." To be sure, Rainbow Connection is a low-key, informal affair, and what would sound sloppy by most other artists is of course endearing by Willie. In the end, this "family CD" is like a bowl of chocolate ice cream: it ain't as special as a sundae or even a cone, but who doesn't like chocolate ice cream? --Marc Greilsamer
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 12, 2001)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Island Records
  • Run Time: 43 minutes
  • ASIN: B00005KALF
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #131,039 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
I thought this was a great album. It is not just another country album. I think it was full of feeling. The title track was quite well done, but there are two other tracks that hit me. One was Playmate. I could feel the emotions coming through that song. The other song that got me, was done not by Willie, but by Amy Nelson. The song is called Wise Old Me. I have the feeling that Willie is not the only good song writer in the family. While the mix of songs is a little eclectic, it has some real feelings. Not just Nashville pop-country acts. Some people might complain about this album because it isn't another On The Road Again, but Willie Nelson is much more than that. He is a gifted singer, and songwriter that has many different tastes and styles. It is nice to hear someone reach out beyond where they are usually typecast. If you are looking for a new-school country album, then this is not for you. But if you are looking for an album that really shows off a wide array of talent, and that is a true joy to listen to, then this is for you.
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Format: Audio CD
Is there any genera or idiom that Willie Nelson can't feel at home with? Having successfully worked in everything from western swing, polka, r&b, mainstream jazz, rockability and everything in-between, Willie set out to record a childrens album.
Starting out with the lovely title track, Joe Robosso's composition, Rainbow Connection, a song that will forever be associated with the late Jim Hensen and his alter-ego, Kermit the Frog. Willie jumps right into this project with his usual relaxed feel and understated sweetness. Ol' Blue, an ode to a man's best friend is covered in typical Willie fashion, with some very tasty steel guitar thrown in for good measure. And then there's Micky Newbury's Just Dropped In, (To See What Condition My Condition Was In) a perfect vehicle for Willie and Micky Raphael's peerless harmonica playing.
There's not much here to astound or blow you away, but if you love Willie, and who doesn't you'll enjoy this lighthearted romp through fields and over the rainbow.
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Format: Audio CD
This album is so cool, I can't describe it. His guitar playing on here is some of the best I've ever heard from him. He sings a beautifull version of the old Kermit classic, Rainbow Connection, and throws in some tasty guitar leads. In "I'm looking over a four leaf clover", you can really hear the influence of Willie's favorite guitar player, the late gypsie jazz man Django Rienhardt. "Outskirts of town" is slow blues at its best. Willie jams on trigger like there's no tommorrow in what I think is one of his best blues recordings ever. If you liked Night and Day, Stardust, and all those mellow, nice and easy albums, you'll love this. It's not overproduced like "Milk Cow Blues", and "Teatro" (which were still great albums, but not like this one). It isn't too manufeactured, it really gets the feel of Willie Nelson. I highly recomend this to EVERYBODY!!
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I had never even heard of this album until I saw it on Amazon. All I can say is that it is NOT typical Willie. According to the notes, Amy Nelson wanted him to do a children's album, and he agreed. Rainbow was the result and she admitted it wasn't quite what she had in mind. She wrote and sang two of the songs, and I wish she would do more! She is extremely talented. The others that Willie added were just as good, and you can feel the twinkle in his eyes as he sings them. Even the barroom fight, the death of the dog, and I'm My Own Grandpa would be okay for even 4 and 5 years old. I love this one and will cherish it forever.
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Format: Audio CD
This is my favorite Willie recording!! I love the songs that are just Willie and his daughter Amy singing as though they are sitting in our living room instead of in some high-tech impersonal recording studio. Amy has a clear, sweet voice and does a beautiful version of Tom Hunter's "Rock Me to Sleep" (which speaks to all of us adults who've ever cared about anyone). The accompanyment on this song is pure, unadulterated Willie. I also love Amy's song "Wise Old Me" and the warm, gentle way that Willie sings "Playmate." I'd encourage everyone to buy this refreshing collection of pure, gutsy, natural music that hearkens to Willie's origins and the origin of song -- done for the heart, not for the profit. You'll find yourself singing along. (However, beware of selections 9-13 - they're definitely not for children!)
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This album is a little outside the typical for Willie. Die hard fans of the "progressive country" that characterizes Willie may be disappointed. I was not! I found it delightful. Since it was billed as a childrens collection, I was pleasantly surprised at the enclusion of "The 33rd of August" - definately not a children's song but one of my favorites from an old Micky Newbury album.
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By A Customer on February 16, 2002
Format: Audio CD
One reviewer complained about Willie not reaching certain notes...but this is Willie Nelson!!! His voice is getting better with age. Rainbow Connection is a kids cd in the same way that the Wizard of Oz or Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory are kids movies. It's the weird parts that make them interesting. Some people seem to think all a kid needs is the sugar coated nothingness of a Barney song or some Disney soundtrack. This is a family album in the sense that the first part is for the tykes, and the last part is for ma and pa. Some of the cheesy (...) parents buy for their children nowadays is far more harmful than this marvel of a cd which treats children as having some degree of intelligence.
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