Many artists who have been active for decades, both dead and alive, seem to have an unlimited reservoir of unreleased material. Prince has a treasure trove in the Paisley Park vaults, Elvis has the RCA archives, Dylan has his seemingly endless Bootleg Series, and Willie Nelson has his stash.
Thus far, Nelson’s archival series has been a family affair. The first release from his stash was December Day with his sister Bobbie. Now comes Willie And The Boys: Willie’s Stash Volume 2, which features sons Lucas and Micah.
Nelson describes the album as…’kinda like the country version of ‘Stardust’ and that is an apt description. It consists of classic country songs that many people are unfamiliar with these days.
The album’s core is seven compositions by Hank Williams Sr. Songs such as “Your Cheatin’ Heart,” “Cold Cold Heart,” “Why Don’t You Love Me’ and particularly “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” are perfect for Nelson’s laid back approach and cadence.
Hank Snow’s “I’m Movin’ On,” Hank Cochran’s “Can I Sleep In Your Arms,” and Hank Locklin’s “Send me The Pillow You Dream On” are re-imagined by one of the great interpreter’s of country music. The only original tune is Nelson’s “Healing Hands Of Time,” which fits the overall concept of the album well.
The vinyl pressing has a superb sound as one would expect with modern day recording techniques. There is something to be said for listening to classic country the old fashioned way.
Willie Nelson is like “Old Man River” in that he just keeps flowing along. Willie Nelson And The Boys is a fine album that makes one wonder what else is lurking in his stash.