Search - Willie Nelson :: Shotgun Willie

Shotgun Willie
Willie Nelson
Shotgun Willie
Genres: Country, Pop
  •  Track Listings (12) - Disc #1

Frustrated by eight years without creative freedom or commercial success, Willie Nelson left RCA Victor in 1972 only to be signed by Atlantic Records VP Jerry Wexler, a longtime fan. Willie and a group of Texas, Nashville,...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Willie Nelson
Title: Shotgun Willie
Members Wishing: 4
Total Copies: 0
Label: Rhino Flashback
Original Release Date: 1/1/2008
Re-Release Date: 4/29/2008
Genres: Country, Pop
Styles: Outlaw Country, Classic Country
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPCs: 075678142628, 081227993238, 075678142642

Synopsis essential recording
Frustrated by eight years without creative freedom or commercial success, Willie Nelson left RCA Victor in 1972 only to be signed by Atlantic Records VP Jerry Wexler, a longtime fan. Willie and a group of Texas, Nashville, and Manhattan musicians (Doug Sahm and Larry Gatlin among them) recorded three albums worth of material in New York, including this benchmark collection. A musical crazy quilt reflecting Nelson's own freewheeling repertoire, it mixed Willie compositions old ("Slow Down Old World") and new ("Shotgun Willie") with a Bob Wills favorite ("Bubbles in My Beer"), Johnny Bush's Texas barroom anthem "Whiskey River," and a stately rendition of Leon Russell's "A Song for You." Literate, sharply focused, and earthy, it proved a turning point, validating Willie's creative quest aesthetically. The triumph was also a commercial one. Acclaimed by the rock music press, Shotgun Willie attracted many younger fans to become Nelson's bestselling album to date, paving the way for his future superstardom at Columbia and beyond. --Rich Kienzle

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CD Reviews

Textbook of Willie Nelson's eclectic music
hyperbolium | Earth, USA | 08/04/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Having broken free of RCA Nashville, Nelson spent a two album stint on Atlantic. This 1973 debut for the label covers a lot of ground, blending Nelson originals with covers (including a pair of Bob Wills titles and a pair from Leon Russell, including "A Song For You") across country, jazz and Texas storytelling tradition. As fruitfully as Nelson has conquered the charts over the years, album-styled music such as this is clearly his first love.Highlights include the (then) newly-penned autobiographical title track, a soulful version of "Whiskey River" that greatly changes mood from the live hit single, the tearful (and perhaps ironically self-fulfilling) original "Sad Songs and Waltzes," and a family take of Bob Wills' "Say All Night (Stay a Little Longer)."This is complex, thoughtful music with the sophistication of its country musical roots and its New York City recording location. Those familiar only with the more readily digestible hits will find a fuller philosophical and musical meal here."
Shotgun Willie doesn't run dry...
Lucas W. Reynolds | VA USA | 03/03/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"There have been better voices in country music, but never a better vocalist than Willie Nelson. I consider him on par with Frank Sinatra or Sam Cooke in terms of singing skill. He knows exactly what he wants out of each line to maximize the effect of the lyric, and his phrasing is inventive and unique. Although he is widely lauded for his song-writing ability, it is his delivery that makes the songs stand out. Shotgun Willie is no exception.

Unlike Red-Headed Stranger or Phases and Stages, there is no unifying concept to hold the album together. This is just Willie being Willie. He's so relaxed and comfortable with the material that the tempo never really makes it above a laid back toe-tapper. And who cares? I could sit back and tap my toe to music of this caliber much longer than the 40 minute running time. Another difference from his string of concept albums is the variety of songs here. Tougher than Leather, for instance, seems to run together a little bit, and even his finest conceptual efforts repeat musical themes throughout, making them more of an overall experience. On Shotgun Willie, every track can stand alone. There is no filler. The title track is wry and amusing with an accompanying horn section that sounds just at home as the strings backing Willie on "Slow Down Old World", or the honky-tonk piano and fiddle on "Bubbles in My Beer". "Whiskey River" is worlds apart from his raucous live version, but none-the-less effective. By the time he chuckles on the second verse of the track, you are so engrossed that you chuckle along with him, even though you're not sure what's so funny.

That's not to say that the songs aren't cohesive, because they are. The arrangements are lovely and uncluttered regardless of what instruments are utilized. Willie's humor is evident on many tracks (particularly on one of my favorites, "You Look Like the Devil in the Morning"). And the covers stand along side the originals in seamless harmony. These are all Willie's songs now. Despite the sad lyrical content (these are by and large break-up songs), this is a joyous album to behold. The only song that breaks the playful mood is the final track, a cover of Leon Russell's "A Song for You". This one may have you spilling tears in your beer, but only because the stark vocal performance is truly affecting.

Shotgun Willie may be Nelson's finest hour (Stranger provides the strongest argument otherwise). There isn't a superfluous moment on this album, and you might find yourself leaving it on repeat throughout the day. In fact, I'm going to start it up again, right now.
Country Music's Best Album
M. Courtois | Fayette, MO | 02/19/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The album is worth $12 for the first line alone--"Shotgun Willie sits around in his underwear." Hard to believe, but the album only gets better after that--the next two songs are country classics: "Whiskey River" and "Sad Songs and Waltzes." And it keeps getting better still--with covers of two Bob Wills songs and guest appearances by Waylon Jennings and the legendary Doug Sahm. Definitely an essential album if you're at all interested in country music."