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Willie Nelson & Friends - Live & Kickin' Import
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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and Willie on "Blue Eyes Cryin' In The Rain," and the offbeat coupling of Willie and Nora Jones on "Wurlitzer Prize," originally made a classic by Willie's late, great good buddy Waylon Jennings.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.
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
LOve this album. Heard a few songs from this line up so had to find album. Great collaborations with other artists. Always top notch music.Published 5 months ago by Valerie Martinell
What's not to love about Willie?! Good sound quality.Norah Roberts duet is sweet.Published 9 months ago by Kitpaw
great duets from some artists you would not expect in country musicPublished 12 months ago by Paula Sullivan
This CD is a great mix of tunes varying from Paul Simon to Toby Keith and Wyclef Jean and Eric Clapton. The songs are great and can mix into any playlist well. Read morePublished 14 months ago by fp
this is an excellent selection of hits. I love Willie Nelson and he is just as good singing with his friends. Sound andQuality is very good also. Read morePublished on June 25, 2014 by debbie