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Posts Tagged ‘Willie Nelson’

Willie Nelson “Good Times” Single Of The Day

Twice a chart single for Willie Nelson, "Good Times" 1981 charting was the most successful, a Country 30 hit.Greetings from Asheville, where good music is always on the turntable or in the CD player.  Today’s Single Of The Day is one of eighty-three Country 40 appearances for the legendary Willie Nelson.  “Good Times” actually charted twice, the first time in 1968, but fell short of the Country 40.  The second time, it fared better, climbing as high as twenty-five in August, 1981.

When Willie Nelson became hot property, following “Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain”, RCA Records began reissuing his works, trying to take advantage of his success.  And it worked, as between 1975 and 1981, ten singles from Willie’s RCA years were charting alongside his Columbia releases.

“Good Times”, in my opinion, was one of Willie’s more underrated singles, a ballad telling a life story that is looked back on, fondly.

Your thoughts?

Saving vinyl, one record at a time.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Mike The Country Musicologist - April 16, 2013 at 7:00 AM

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Linda Ronstadt “Crazy” Single Of The Day

Top 10 country hit for Linda Ronstadt in 1977, her version of the Patsy Cline classic, "Crazy".Greetings from Asheville, where today’s Single Of The Day is a 1970’s cover of one of the most iconic records ever made.  “Crazy”, the Willie Nelson composed song that Patsy Cline turned into an iconic part of country music, a record that surely has to rank as one of the ten greatest, ever. When a song enjoys that high of a status, it’s always at least slightly risky for someone to later, do a cover.

In late 1976, though, Linda Ronstadt did just that.  Linda was enjoying steady success on both the country and the pop charts, often times releasing a single with a country sound on one side and a pop/rock sound on the flip.  This case wasn’t different, as one side, “Someone To Lay Down Beside Me”, was pitched to Top 40 and Adult Contemporary stations, while “Crazy” was worked at country radio by Asylum Records.  In this case, “Crazy” turned out to be the more successful side, as it’s flip failed to crack the Top 40, while peaking just inside the AC top 30.  “Crazy”, on the other hand, caught the attention of country radio and it’s listeners, and became her fourth top ten hit, as it peaked at six in early 1977.

Your thoughts?

Saving vinyl, one record at a time.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Mike The Country Musicologist - March 27, 2013 at 11:45 AM

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Willie Nelson “I Love You A Thousand Ways” Single Of The Day

Willie's second hit remake of a Lefty Frizzell classicGreetings from Asheville, where good music is always on the turntable.  Today, we look back at one of the many hits of Willie Nelson, a single that was the second Lefty Frizzell hit that Willie would also score with.

The story of Willie Nelson is well known; his incredible songwriting talents, but also his years of struggle to become a singing star, that finally culminated with his breakthrough Red-Headed Stranger album, featuring his first number one single, “Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain”.  One year later, Willie was back on top, this time with a remake of the Lefty Frizzell classic “If You’ve Got The Money, I’ve Got The Time”.  Fast forward another two years, to August, 1977, and once again, Willie calls on a Lefty classic, this time “I Love You A Thousand Ways”.   Taken from his Lefty Frizzell tribute album, To Lefty From Willie, the song, ironically, was Lefty’s second chart single, and second number one hit, as well as the flip side to his first of each, “If You’ve Got The Money, I’ve Got The Time”.

Willie’s version made it’s debut in August, climbing the charts to as high as nine, by early Fall.  Performed in that standard Nelson style of that era, where his guitar is nearly as prominent as his voice.  It was an amazing sound, so different than anything else on the radio.  And if you listen close, you can tell the Frizzell influence on Willie, on this track.

Your thoughts?

Saving vinyl, one record at a time.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Mike The Country Musicologist - February 13, 2013 at 6:00 AM

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Merle Haggard “Going Where The Lonely Go” Classic Album Review

1982 album for Merle Haggard, "Going Where The Lonely Go"Greetings from Asheville, where good music is always found on the turntable, in the CD player, or in the MP3 player.  Today’s Classic Album Review takes you back to November, 1982, for the Epic Records release from Merle Haggard, Going Where The Lonely Go.  The album, like the vast majority of his releases, was a rousing success, with two number one singles, while peaking at three on the album charts.

The title cut opens things, here.  A number one hit in early 1983, “Going Where The Lonely Go” is one of Merle’s strongest hits of the decade, if not of all time.  This is a case where Merle Haggard the writer, almost outdoes Merle Haggard the singer.  The song is that strong.  And of course, Merle’s performance is nothing short of classic.  You don’t just listen to this one, you feel it.

“Why Am I Drinkin’ is a good piece of country music.  Western swing-influenced with it’s fiddle work and lively beat, this is a solid composition that I really like.

Not only is “Why Am I Drinkin’ a Hidden Gem contender, so is “If I Left It Up To You”.  Again, a track that I really like.

“I Won’t Give Up My Train” is nearly as strong as the previous two.  Train songs are a staple in country music; but usually deal with wrecks or hobos.  This one’s different; an engineer who deeply loves his woman, but he loves his train even more.

Side one ends with the Leona Williams written “Someday You’re Gonna Need Your Friends Again”.  It features a little slicker production than what is usually heard on a Merle Haggard track, but despite that, this medium-up track is still pure Haggard in style.

Speaking of songwriting, Merle wrote five of the tracks, and co-wrote the sixth, with Little Jimmy Dickens.  That song, “Shopping For Dresses”, opens side two. A solid effort on a decent track.

The album’s other single, “You Take Me For Granted”, is arguably as good as the first single.  Hitting number one in late Spring, 1983, it’s also a strong composition that also features a standout performance by Merle Haggard.

Merle Haggard singing a song written by Willie Nelson is almost always a winning combination.  “Half A Man” is a song from Willie’s early days, a 1963 top 25 single for Willie.  Something about the way Merle Haggard sings this, is almost haunting.  Definitely one of the album’s many highlights. Yet another Hidden Gem contender.

“For All I Know” is a track that sounds exactly like Merle’s 1970’s Capitol work. The arrangement, the composition, even the singing.  Beyond that, the composition is strong, and of course, Merle’s singing is awesome.  Merle’s voice was amazingly consistent over his hit-making years, and even today, shows much less wear than most others in his age range.  This is a track that should also get some Hidden Gem love.

Merle covers the Jimmie Davis classic, “Nobody’s Darling But Mine” for the album’s final track.  Sometimes, even in the 1980’s, 1930’s/40’s-era songs didn’t always translate well to a more contemporary sound, but there’s no problem with that, here.  Merle’s take is impeccable, here, and the song sounds just as fresh in 1983, as it did when Jimmie Davis first put it to 78 rpm in 1935.

Used copies of this album are not too difficult to find.  I found both used vinyl and cassette copies in the $3 to $20 range.  The album is still available, offered on CD as a “two-fer”, with Big City, or as a solo album, via MP3 download.

Wow, how do you pick a Standout Track, here?  Both singles are exceptional, but to pick one, I’ll go with “Going Where The Lonely Go”, but only narrowly.  Similar story with the Hidden Gem.  There are several worthy tracks, here, but in the end, I’ll go with “If I Left It Up To You”.  Nothing weak, here.

Overall, a standout album.  With someone who’s released as many albums as Merle Haggard has, it’s difficult to pick the best one, but one can certainly find 10 or so that are a little better than the rest.  This album would merit very strong consideration to be in that short list.  It’s arguably one of that decade’s classic works, a 5 out of 5.

Your thoughts?

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Mike The Country Musicologist - October 12, 2012 at 8:30 PM

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Willie Nelson And Julio Iglesias “To All The Girls I’ve Loved Before” Single Of The Day

1984 hit for Willie Nelson and Julio IglesiasGreetings from Asheville, where good music is always found on the Ultimate Twang Show, every Thursday at 4 EST on Asheville Free Media.  Today’s Single Of The Day is a 1984 hit that is also one of the many duet hits of Willie Nelson.

It turned out to be quite an event when Willie teamed with Julio Iglesias for one of the biggest hits of 1984.  “To All The Girls I’ve Loved Before” would become a number one country hit in May, while catching a top ten position on the pop charts, as well.  The buzz had actually began prior to the single’s release, when the two appeared on television for a live performance of the song on the previous October’s CMA Awards.  Curiously, though, it wasn’t until the following Spring, before Columbia finally released a single version of the duet.  Of course, it’s more of a pop record than a country record, even with Willie’s vocals, and one could certainly argue that you can’t get much more contrasting than the vocal styles of Willie Nelson and Julio Iglesias.  Interestingly, though, what might have seemed like a train wreck in the making, actually worked out pretty well and the song was the perfect vehicle to match these two talents.  And it wouldn’t be their only time in the spotlight, together, either.  In 1988, they would return to the Country top ten with a version of “Spanish Eyes”.

Your thoughts?

Saving vinyl, one record at a time.

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Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Mike The Country Musicologist - September 26, 2012 at 11:51 AM

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