Willie Nelson "Naked"

Monday, April 27, 2009

Willie Nelson has released countless albums, almost literally. He is a master of the pen, the vocal delivery of a country song, and music in general. Anything he touches his distinct vocals to turn into history immediately and adored by the country music community. His newest release, “Naked Willie,” is no exception to this thought. This album is something special, indeed. You see, when Nelson began his career in 1964 with RCA, he didn’t have total control over how his music was recorded. He had to rely on the decisions of his upper management. So what was produced was great music, however, not exactly how Nelson would have wanted it… it was called “The Nashville Sound” back then. It was pioneered by the legendary Chet Atkins, among others at RCA that had a slick sound to it… with background vocals and lots of string musicians. Now, its 2009… Nelson is an icon of music in general and let’s face it; he can record what he wants, when he wants, and exactly how he wants.

On “Naked Willie,” Nelson takes a collection of seventeen songs from 1966-1970 and were re-mixed to the way Nelson would have wanted to record them… well, naked. No overpowering strings or backup singers…just Nelson, the lyrics, and the music shining through.

Below this posting, you will find 2 Amazon MP3 players. One is just a few original recordings of the songs that appear on “Naked Willie.” The second player is of this new album. Just listen to the amazing difference… both good, “Naked Willie” just more special, no doubt.

This album is a relaxing, enjoyable listen right from the start. The very first track, “Bring Me Sunshine,” had me snapping along as Nelson’s voice clearly fills the air. Each track reminds you sharply how distinctive Nelson’s vocals are. Take a listen to “I’m A Memory” in your own Nelson collection or a clip on Amazon, I-tunes, etc. and then play this version. The new re-mastered version has a whole new feel to it. This album is really an education on music. It teaches us how even slight changes to a song, keeping the same vocal talent and lyrics can change the feel of the song totally. Toning down the instrumentation and letting a vocal shine just is so enjoyable, especially vocal of Nelson.

Among the great music that is served “naked” on this album, the booklet in itself is worth picking up the CD, as long as you can get over the mild shock of a Willie Nelson in a bathtub. Let’s just thank God for bubble baths. However, the writing in the booklet is a wonderful read about Nelson’s career and how this album came along. It is worth reading, most definitely.

From the die-hard fan of Nelson to the just general music lover, you will enjoy every moment of Willie... “naked.”