Classic Album Review-Willie Nelson “Stardust”
There are rare occasions where an album is produced that is truly a listening experience. Many albums will contain a few individual tracks that can be considered an experience, but for a whole album, start to finish? That’s a bit of a rarity. Willie Nelson’s 1978 classic, “Stardust” is one of those rarities.
Released at the height of his popularity, more than a few eyebrows were raised, when Willie, known as one of the architects of the “Outlaw Movement”, suddenly presents an album of standards from the likes of Hoagy Carmichael and Duke Ellington. But if you stop and think about it, that’s what made him, and Waylon Jennings, in particular, “outlaws”. They did things their own way, the way they wanted to do them.
The “Stardust” album was released in the spring of 1978, peaking at number one, and yielding no less than four top twenty hits, of which two, “Georgia On My Mind” and “Blue Skies” would make it to number one.
“Stardust” begins what is an easy, peaceful journey through 10 standards, each made unique, at the hands of Willie. The recurring theme through each cut is intimacy; each cut has an intimate feel.
Whereas Ray Charles’ version of “Georgia On My Mind” is lush, Nelson’s, is bare; just his backing band, with only a hint of lushness at the end. Willie lets the song be the star, so we hear just how outstanding a work this musical piece really is.
The same can be said for “Blue Skies” and “All Of Me”, as well. Both are great recordings (“All Of Me” is my favorite of the disc).
Side 1 ends with a fine rendition of “Unchained Melody”, one of those songs that actually seems to have been oversung, over the years, yet Willie’s version, even thirty-two years later, is fresh and pleasing to the ears.
“September Song” is so peaceful and relaxing, I almost dozed, I was so lost into the recording. Only a lack of time prevented from playing the track a second time.
“On The Sunny Side Of The Street”, all I can say is another pleasant sound to the ears.
And the same goes to “Moonlight In Vermont”, another standout track.
Another fave of mine on this disc is “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore”. It features some excellent guitar work about midway through the track.
“Someone To Watch Over Me” is a great ending to a true classic album.
No surprise, here, that this album is still available, both on CD and MP3, not to mention the many used copies, as well.
This album is a beautiful work of art that takes country and mixes in a dab of pop, jazz, and blues, to create something unique and special. 5 out of 5 is the rating, here. What is your opinion?
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