March 7 2021

Happy Birthday TVZ

Townes Van Zandt is a most recognized name in music. Townes is known for his finger picking ability and is widely respected for his guitar playing. He wrote songs that to many are still considered masterpieces.

If I Needed You,” a song written by Townes Van Zandt in 1972 has now been covered and recorded by 38 other artists. His hit song, “Pancho and Lefty,” has been released by 28 others.  

The most common version of “Pancho and Lefty” is by Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard. Townes himself stars In the official video of the Willie and Merle version. The song became a hit for the Red Headed Stranger and the Okie from Muskogee in 1983. The pair won Country Music Association’s award for Single of the Year.

If he were still alive, today would have been Townes’ 77th birthday. I share the same sentiment as the verse from Cory Morrow’s song, “Nashville Blues.”

“I like George Jones, Willie and Waylon I think Kris and Merle are song writing saviors. Townes Van Zandt he died too soon. But now he’s up there with Hank and they’re both fightin’ the Nashville Blues.”

Van Zandt was born with the blues. He fought depression and addiction for all of his life. He suffered from symptoms of alcoholism and drug addictions. Later diagnosis of his health was a bi-polar disorder. His own mother regretted sending Townes to rehab early on in his life. When he received insulin shock therapy, the treatment erased much of his long term memory. Townes died on New years day in 1997 of cardiac arrythmia. His heart problems stemmed from his prolonged substance abuse.

Happy Birthday TVZ.

Pancho.

February 19 2021

Bridge Over Troubled Water is Always On My Mind

I guess I have loved Simon and Garfunkel since I was very young. Their songs have always held a tender place in my heart. Growing up, my dad loved the Classic Rock radio stations, and the voices of Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel were commonplace along the air waves on drives anywhere we went. Besides Dad, my Great Uncle Zack was a huge fan of the duo. Uncle Zack solidified my belief at a young age that Simon and Garfunkel was the best rock band that ever was.

In 1982 I was seven years old. In February of that year, Willie Nelson released his twenty-seventh studio album, Always On My Mind. The album was recognized as the Billboard Country Album of the Year thatyear. Long before I ever found Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel, even though they were here long before me, there was always Willie Nelson in my mind. I would suppose that I have been a fan of Willie Nelson since the day I was born.

Willie’s, Always On My Mind album featured his cover version of Simon and Garfunkel’s hit song “Bridge over Troubled Water.”

I bet throughout my 45 years on this planet of Earth, I have heard the song more than 45 thousand times. More times than not, it was Willie Nelson’s version than Simon and Garfunkel that was spinning on the player.

This song brings me instant peace and comfort. It soothes me down deep inside of my being. I can feel every emotion in my being when I hear the lyrical genius of the verses and the acoustical music of the melodies. This is a song that even though Willie Nelson did not write, I honestly think he could have. He made the song his own and his voice and emotion shines through the sound. It is an oldie but a goodie. It is one of my very favorites, but I suppose that I could say just that about any song that Willie ever sung.

Columbia’s release of Always On My Mind with it’s pop standard sound and the direction of the album’s producer Chip Moman was a bridge that Willie Nelson needed to cross. The album changed my view of music forever by showing me that a cover song could become better than the original.

Bridge Over Troubled Water will forever be Always On My Mind.

Pancho.

January 14 2021

On the Road Again

Rolling Stone reported today that Willie has gotten his COVID vaccination. I made light of their post on Twitter humorously saying on my Re-tweet that Willie is probably more immune to most things that would kill normal people.

Willie has always been larger than life in my eyes. His music has made him immortal, as the music that he has already recorded will live on forever. Some of those songs have gotten me through the best of times and the worst of times. His songs have always comforted me when I was sad and have kept me company when I felt alone. I don’t know how many miles I have driven hearing his voice on the car stereo. His music has healed my soul through sickness, depression, divorces and all the other problems I have encountered in my life. Willie’s music has also been there for me to turn up and just kick back and let the good times roll.

Willie received the Moderna vaccine in Cedar Park, Texas. He qualified for the vaccine as he is 87 years old and suffers from COPD. His sister and the piano player in the family band, Bobbie Nelson, also got a Moderna brand vaccine recently. Bobbie is now 90 years old.

The last time Willie Played a live show was at the Houston Livestock Show last March. He is hoping that the vaccine will soon do its job for him and the many others it has become available to. His plans are to be back on the road again by late August or September of this year.

For now, Willie has been working on several projects at home. There is talk of an album by Willie Nelson and his sons Lukas and Micah.

Willie told Rolling Stone that the vaccine left his arm a little sore but he was happy to be doing his part.

I can’t wait until he is on the road again

Pancho.

January 9 2021

Don’t let your babies grow up to pick guitars

“Mammas, don’t let your babies grow up to pick guitars is what I said first.. I thought wait a minute and I changed it to cowboys.”

ED BRUCE

I learned via Fox News that his publicist, Jeremy Westby confirmed that Country singer/ songwriter Ed Bruce died on Friday of natural causes at his home in Clarksville, Tennessee.

Ed Bruce is famous for writing the iconic hit song, “Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys.”  The song was co-written with his wife Patsy Bruce. His version of the song can be heard on a 1976 self-titled album published by United Artist Records. Bruce’s version reached number 15 on the Hot Country Singles charts in 1976.

Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys,” would become even more famous after Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings released the song on their 1978 duet album, Waylon & Willie. The Waylon/ Willie version peaked to number one in March of ’78. The song would spend a month at the top of the country charts. The song also earned a Grammy Award for the pair of outlaws for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal.

Willie Nelson’s version featured in the 1979 film The Electric Horseman which starred Robert Redford and Jane Fonda.

In 1994 Gibson/Miller band recorded a cover version of the song which was featured in the soundtrack for the movie The Cowboy Way. The Gibson/Miller version reached #49 on the charts.

Shooter Jennings recorded a version that appeared as the introduction to the Netflix Series, The Ranch.

My wife and I both agree that, “Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys” is one of the most memorable songs from our childhood. She recalled listening to the song with her brother J. on the way to “grandma’s house.” For me I think it was probably the first song that I remember knowing all of the words to. I recall singing the song along with the radio on family trips as well.

Members of the Western Writers of America chose the song as one of the top 100 Western songs of all time. -Wikipedia

Other songs in the Ed Bruce catalog are “My First Taste of Texas,” “You’re the Best Break This Old Heart Ever Had,” and “The Last Cowboy Song.”

You’re the Best Break This Old Heart Ever Had” saw the top of the country charts in 1982.

William Edwin Bruce Jr. Was born December 29, 1939 in Keiser, Arkansas. He first caught the attention of Sun Records owner Sam Phillips in Memphis, Tennessee where he wrote and recorded under the name Edwin Bruce. Ed Bruce did release many songs by himself but most of his success was through the songs he had written that were recorded by other people.

Ed would set his songwriting aside in the mid to late 80’s and turn to acting. He appeared in some made for TV films and hosted the shows, Truckin’ USA and American Sports Calvacade. With Stephen Seagal, Ed Bruce would appear on the big screen in the movie Fire Down Below.

Cowboys ain’t easy to love and they’re harder to hold

They’d rather give you a song than diamonds or gold

Lone star belt buckles and old faded Levi’s

And each night begins a new day

If you don’t understand him, and he don’t die young

He’ll probably just ride away

Songwriters: Ed Bruce/ Patsy Bruce

And If you don’t understand him, and he don’t die young, He’ll probably just ride away,

Pancho.

December 11 2020

Stuff In My Head

On the empty packaging of some sanitary napkins that he found in a New York hotel room bathroom, Willie Nelson wrote the song, Shotgun Willie.

Well, you can’t make a record if you ain’t got nothing to say

You can’t make a record if you ain’t got nothing to say

You can’t play music if you don’t know nothing to play

Shotgun Willie was released in June 1973. In spite of poor sales, the album received good reviews and gained Nelson major recognition with younger audiences. The recording was one of the first albums of outlaw country—a new subgenre of country music and an alternative to the conservative restrictions of the Nashville sound, the dominant style in the genre at the time.– Wikepedia

This week, I have felt this way about my blog. I guess some would call it writer’s block. I just have called it meh…

Well you can’t write a blog if you ain’t got nothing to say

You can’t publish to your website if you ain’t got nothing to say

You won’t get  followers if you don’t feel like blogging  every day

So today, I recall some old cowboy wisdom. When you fall off the horse, climb back on and ride again.

Shotgun Willie is a sentimental song to me. It is one of the few things that I recall from the night I took my last drink of alcohol. I had the record on the turntable playing loud. I had beaten myself stupid with the bottle one more time. One more time King alcohol had won. Thanks to God and the people in AA, I have been sober since May 19th of 2009.

Never give up. Shotgun Willie reminds me of my will to try and try again.

“When I started counting my blessings my whole life turned around”-

Willie Nelson

I wrote the other day about having an “off day.” Now it seems more like it has been an “off month.” There is the writer’s block, and the lack of Christmas Spirit.

A good friend and huge inspiration in my life used to say often, “Thank God for the capacity of pain and suffering.”

I am blessed by these words today. In this rough patch I have noticed a few things about myself. I have to go through the rainy season in order to enjoy the sunny weather. My life could be a lot worse than it is. I need to stop listening to the voices in my head and start being thankful each day that I still have life. Thank God I didn’t have to take a drink at it today.

I am not saying that if you drink you are wrong. I will defend your right to drink as much as I defend my own right to stay sober. I just know that a drink isn’t the answer for me today.

I am a writer and I write about my personal thoughts and experiences. Music helps me sort out the stuff in my head so I can understand the stuff in my head.

You can’t play music if you don’t know nothing to play

Pancho.

November 29 2020

Timeless Preacher

Yesterday, @WhiskeyRiff asked on Twitter, IF? you could only listen to one country artist who would that be? Many of Whiskey’s followers chose Willie Nelson. In my opinion he is the clear choice. Willie has miles and miles of music. So many hit songs, multiple albums, and cross genre successes. At least one wouldn’t get board of listening to his pure voice and his magical chords from the famous guitar Trigger.  

My question today is okay- so it is a no brainer to listen to Willie for the rest of my God given life. But? What if I could only listen to one Willie Nelson Album?

My pick:  The Red Headed Stranger.

Red Headed Stranger is a concept album by Willie Nelson. It was the eighteenth studio album for Nelson. He recorded the album in January 1975 at Autumn Sound Studios in Garland, Texas. The Columbia label released the album in May of 1975.

It was the time of the preacher When the story began

Willie’s contract with Columbia Records gave the artist complete creative control over his works. Columbia executives were unsure of this new album, they felt like it was a demo album. As per Willie Nelson’s contract which cited his total creative control, the Red Headed Stranger was released in it’s original form. No further production needed.

With the choice of a lady And the love of a man

The album’s poetic lyrics along with its arrangement were well received by country music and mainstream audiences. The album has been certified multi- platinum. It has made Willie Nelson who he is today. The Texas Outlaw musician, Willie Nelson is still one of the most recognized artists in country music.

Today, Rolling Stone’s ranks the album at #183 on their list of 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. The album ranks #1 on CMT’s 40 Greatest Albums in Country Music.

Chet Flippo once wrote in Texas Monthly about the album, an article titled MATTHEW, MARK, LUKE, AND WILLIE.

“Willie Nelson’s latest album is more than good country music, it’s almost gospel.”

Chet Flippo

Flippo goes on to say, “Of all contemporary songwriters, he has most effectively observed and interpreted life around him.”

Chet Flippo describes the Man- Willie Nelson:

“the master of despair, the poet of honky tonks, the chronicler of personal apocalypse”

Chet Flippo

How he loved her so dearly He went out of his mind

The first hit single from the album was “Blue Eyes Cryin’ in the Rain.” It is among the many songs from the  Red Headed Stranger album that were not penned by Willie himself. In October 1975 The song would become Willie Nelson’s first #1 Hit.

Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain” was written by songwriter Fred Rose. The original recording of the song was by Roy Acuff. The song has also been recorded by Hank Sr. and Charley Pride. It is Willie’s version that is most recognized. “Blue Eyes” revived Willie Nelson’s career in country music. The 2 minute and 18 second song made Willie Hugh Nelson an icon and a legend among his peers.

Rolling Stone’s ranking of the song is #48 on it’s list of 100 Greatest Country Songs of All Time.

If my Grummy were alive today, she would fight tooth and nail to say the song should have been named #1

When she left him for someone That she’d left behind

The Decision made by Willie to leave Music Row for the outskirts of Austin, Texas and his managers negotiation of the contract with Columbia most definitely defined the album. Willie’s new found self control of his own music was his saving grace.

Willie no longer focused on image, he was able to focus on his sound. His sound reflects his raising in Abbott Texas. It is influenced by Mexican and Czechoslovakian music. His childhood neighbors of Mexican and Czech descent introduced him to such scores of music from their homelands. His raising in the church stuck a gospel soul into his head.

In 1986 Willie Nelson took the Red Headed Stranger onto the big screen. His Movie The Red Headed Stranger took five years for Willie to fund. He mortgaged property In order to raise money for the wardrobe and props. Towns were built on land that adjoined Willie’s private golf course in Austin.

The movie’s director, Bill Wittliff explained to Life Magazine in 1987:

“In a funny kind of way, I just simply stepped into Willie’s dream…. It’s (the movie) has become an obsession for me.”

Bill Wittliff

If I only could listen to only one Album for the rest of my life, Red Headed Stranger is the album for me. This Grammy Award Winning Album featured some of  the best musicians in country at the time of it’s release. The powerful storytelling songs and instrumentals are among my own list of The Greatest Songs of All Time. Willie Nelson is a showman and an all star musician. No one is ever going to replace his style of outlaw music.

“Time of the Preacher”

It was the time of the preacher When the story began

With the choice of a lady And the love of a man

How he loved her so dearly He went out of his mind

When she left him for someone That she’d left behind

Songwriter- Willie Nelson Release Date -May 1, 1975

The Red Headed Stranger is a perfect example of Willie’s style. In his Willie Way, the pitch perfect self-produced sound can never be duplicated.

Pancho.

November 25 2020

So Pick Up the Tempo

We received our education

In the cities of the nation, me and Paul

I was again looking at how many great artists that we have lost this year. I compiled a list of those I could recall and through other’s writings on social media.

Bill Mack, Kenny Rogers, John Prine, Bill Withers, Paul English,  Joe Diffie, Mac Davis,James Slim Hand, Johnny Bush,  Eddie Van Halen, Justin Townes Earle, Jerry Jeff Walker, Billy Joe Shaver, Doug Supernaw, and Hal Ketchum.

Forgive me if I left someone out. This list alone covers so many great singers, musicians, and song writing geniuses.

Working up this list reminded me of Paul English. I recall how much his death affected me earlier this year. I am a fan of music. I have been a huge fan of Willie Nelson for all of my life I suppose. I couldn’t tell you who in the world plays in most singer’s bands, I only recall the name of the headliner or of their top songs. But it is different for me when it comes to Willie. It saddened me that December day back in 2011 when Bee Spears, Willie’s long time bassist left this earth. It really hit me hard in February of this year when I read the news that Paul English had perished.

Paul English first played drums for Willie Nelson in Fort Worth in 1955. In 2008 English told the Abilene Reporter News that the first time he played the drums he played with Willie. He had simply been asked to “keep the beat.”

By 1966 Paul was the full time drummer for Willie Nelson.

Paul was more than just Willie’s drummer. He was his closest friend. He was Willie’s enforcer and body guard. Paul served on the board of directors and as treasurer for farm aid. Paul sometimes would serve as a collection agent for the Willie Nelson Family Band. Paul protected not only Willie Nelson, but his family as well.

Paul English was sometimes known to carry a .22 caliber pistol in his boot.

Once Paul shot at Willie Nelson’s son-in-law’s car when he layed his hand on , Lana, Nelson’s daughter.

Paul was known to have a short fuse. One time he shot at steel pedal player Jimmy Day. Jimmy had insulted Paul English’s dead wife.

he “commandeered a forklift” and used it on a club owner’s Ford Thunderbird, attempting to force the guy into coughing up the band’s performance fee,

Oxford American Magazine

“Willie feels safe with me behind him,”

Paul English

In 2014 Paul told Rolling Stone that without Willie, he would have either been in prison or dead.

In Tribute to his long time friend, Willie and his third wife Connie named their daughter Paula after Paul.

“With Paul. Willie’s always safe on the road. We named Paula after him.”

Connie Nelson told the Oxford American.

In 1971, Willie released the song “Me and Paul”. The song is about the friendship the two shared and what was going on in Willie’s life and going on in country music in general around the time the song was written.

Another song Willie Nelson penned about his friend was ”Devil in a Sleeping Bag.”

The “Devil” was a nickname Paul English received because Willie thought he resembled what Satan should look like.

“Pick Up the Tempo,” a song written by Willie Nelson and Made famous by Waylon Jennings also makes reference to Paul English.

The singer ain’t singin’ and the drummer’s been draggin’ too long

So Pick up the tempo…Take it on home

Pancho.

November 7 2020

Willie Nelson for President

I have always thought that Willie Nelson would have made a great president. Sadly, due to drummer Paul English passing last February he will be unable to make vice. Willie Nelson is a man with a heart and compassion for the American people.

Willie Nelson has helped countless American Farmers.

In the summer of 1985 Bob Dylan made a statement from the stage of Live Aid. Live Aid was a fundraiser held at Wembley Stadium in London and JFK Stadium in Philadelphia. The benefit was seeking donations for African famine relief.

“I hope that some of the money…maybe they can just take a little bit of it maybe and use it to pay the mortgages of some of the farmers here.”

Bob Dylan.

Afterwards, Dylan received criticism from the Live Aid event organizer Bob Geldof for his statement. The statement however, planted a seed. Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp, and Neil Young began planning a benefit for the American farmer. The very first “Farm Aid” took place in Champaign, Illinois September 22,1985.

Willie helps the common people and other musicians as well.

In December of 2000, Eddy Shaver, son of Billy Joe Shaver died of a Heroin overdose. Shaver was to perform that night at a New Years eve concert.

“ My band just went nuts…all crying and stuff. Willie called me up and said Billy, you gotta get back on the horse. I’m an old cowboy, I know what he’s talking about, so I got up there.”

Billy Joe Shaver

Willie Nelson put a band together, and the two performed that night after all. Willie held up his old friend and selflessly helped out another musician.

I have friends who actually stopped listening to the Red Headed Stranger solely based on his political beliefs. In reality Willie has endorsed both Republican and Democratic tickets.

As an Environmentalist, Willie uses Bio Diesel to fuel his tour buses. In 2004 Willie started a company called Willie Nelson BioFuel that produced bio fuel under the brand name BioWillie. Due to high requirements the fuels availability has declined. But Willie hasn’t given up. A retail grade is now available on the Hawaiian island of Maui.

Willie Nelson has a home in Hawaii that runs on solar panels.

Although sometimes his views are not always orthodox, Nelson was born and raised a Methodist in Abbott, Texas. When the local church that he had grown up in began having hardships, Willie Nelson bought the building so that the congregation could continue to have services.

Sometimes Willie is judged by those who say his Christian Music is hypocritical. Those judging him seem to me like the hypocrites. See, the Bible says in Matthew 7:1 “Judge Not.”

Most famously, Willie Nelson is known for his advocacy to legalize Marijuana. I personally wouldn’t use it, but I don’t have a problem with someone who does.

There are some real health benefits that have been proven associated with this “drug”. Why is it any worse than drinking beer or whiskey? Studies show it is actually less harmful than alcohol. If Marijuana were controlled, it would bring a big tax income into our American economy. Regulating and legalizing the use of Marijuana would lower the crime rate. It even might help out some of the above mentioned American farmers.

My Fellow Americans, I think tonight the fate of the election for our newest President has been set. The Democratic Party will move into the whitehouse this coming January. For me I am not yet sure what this is going to mean. My family depends on the oil economy to survive. I believe in entrepreneurship and capitalism in a free trade society. Something that I fear the current party does not. I hope to own my own business one day and to make my own way in society.

What would Willie do?

Willie Nelson’s advice “IF YOU DON’T LIKE ‘EM VOTE ‘EM OUT.

If you don’t like it vote it out.

Pancho.

October 28 2020

Live Forever

I’m gonna live forever

I’m gonna cross that river

I’m gonna catch tomorrow now

Songwriters: Eddy, Billy Joe Shaver

Billy Joe Shaver Crossed that river today after suffering a massive stroke yesterday. Shaver was 81 years old. Texas has lost yet another songwriting legend.

Some have said that Shaver was one of the greatest living country songwriters. His song “Live Forever” was written by him and his son Eddy Shaver. John Edwin “Eddy” Shaver crossed his river on December 31, 2000. The song was recorded by them twice. Once, on the 1993 album Tramp On Your Street and again in 1998 on the album Victory.

The song was also performed by The Highwaymen and Joe Ely. Robert Duvall performs it in the movie Crazy Heart.

You’re gonna miss me when I’m gone

Nobody here will ever find me

But I’ll always be around

Just like the songs I leave behind me

I’m gonna live forever now

These are just a glimpse of the words Shaver turned into song.

Billy Joe Shaver may be gone in the flesh, but as I believe as did he, Shaver isn’t gone for good. Shaver wasn’t afraid to talk about his faith and beliefs of the afterlife.

Shaver found religion after his son Eddy had died. One of his favorite sayings was, “If you don’t love Jesus, you can go to hell.

He even recorded a gospel album in 2007 called Everybody’s Brother that featured duets with Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson and Tanya Tucker.

The songs that Shaver left behind are treasures for us all to enjoy in this earthy life. I am sure he is up there in Heaven now singing with the angels.

Billy Joe Shaver was born in Corsicana, Texas August 16, 1939. He was mostly raised by his grandmother while his mother, Victory Watson Shaver, worked in nearby Waco, Texas. Shaver left school in the eighth grade in order to help his uncles pick cotton.  

Shaver on occasion would accompany his mother to her job at a night club in Waco called the Green Gables. Shaver penned the song, “Honky Tonk Heros” about these experiences at the Green Gables.

Billy Joe Shaver spent a stint in the Navy, enlisting at the age of 17. After completing his military duties, He worked a series of odd jobs. Billy Joe had an accident at a saw-mill which caused him to lose two of his fingers off of his left hand. It was then, when he taught himself to play guitar and had dreams of becoming a songwriter. Shaver told CMT in 2012, that he had made a deal with God.

“When I cut my fingers off, I made a deal with God, If You get me out of this, I will go on and do what I am supposed to do.’”

Billy Joe Shaver

Hitch hiking his way to Nashville, Billy Joe found work as a songwriter for fifty dollars a week.

Shaver’s big break came when Waylon Jennings recorded the album, Honky Tonk Heros in 1973. All but one song on the entire album was written by Billy Joe Shaver.

Waylon, having once heard Billy Joe Shaver perform, “Willy The Wandering Gypsy and Me” had told him he would like to record it.

Enlisting the help of radio deejay, Captain Midnight, Billy Joe tracked Waylon down. Waylon, who was bothered by the intrusion of this, gave Midnight a hundred-dollar bill, just to have Billy Joe Shaver “Go Away.” Shaver wouldn’t take NO for an answer.

Billy Joe finally got a chance to speak to Waylon, who he recalled at the time,  had two big bikers with him.

I’ll tell you what I want … If you don’t listen to these songs, at least listen to them, I’m going to whip your ass right here in front of God and everybody.”

Billy Joe Shaver

Waylon decided he had better listen to one, then another. In his biography Waylon told:

His songs were of a piece, and the only way you could ever understand Billy Joe was to hear his whole body of work.

Waylon Jennings

Billy Joe talked the way a modern cowboy would speak, if he stepped out of the West and lived today.

Waylon Jennings

Shaver secured his own record deal, and continued writing and performing his music. His songs were recorded by many including Elvis Presley, Willie Nelson, and Patty Loveless. He enjoyed wide appreciation from his peers.

Billy Joe Shaver continued his music until the very end. He received numerous awards and accolades along the way. He performed on the Grand Ole Opry in 1999. In 2006, Shaver was inducted into the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame. In 2019, Shaver received the Poet’s Award from the Academy of Country Music.

Remember Someone really loves you

We’ll live forever you and I

Pancho.

October 23 2020

Stardust

Everybody has a favorite. Willie Nelson has always been mine. Out of all of his Albums, I have a hard time deciding which one is the best, but I do know that Stardust is near and dear to my heart.

In 1977, Willie Nelson decided to record a collection of American pop standards. He chose ten songs from among his personal favorites. The list started with Stardust. Nelson also picked for the album “Georgia on My Mind“, “Blue Skies“, “All of Me“, “Unchained Melody“, “September Song“, “On the Sunny Side of the Street“, “Moonlight in Vermont“, “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore” and “Someone to Watch Over Me“. This would become the album Stardust. Nelson’s twenty-second studio album was born.

Executives at Columbia Records feared that the album would be a failure. They were unsure of success with a pop and jazz record.

Willie had already established himself in the Outlaw Country scene. He had built a huge following in and out of Nashville with his previously successful albums Red Headed Stranger and Wanted! The Outlaws.

Wanted! The Outlaws is a compilation album by Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Jessi Colter, and Tompall Glaser, released by RCA in 1976. It was the first country music album to be certified Platinum.

Stardust only took 10 days in the recording studio.

The album was produced by Booker T Jones. At the time, Jones and Willie Nelson were neighbors in Malibu.

Jones was once the front man of the band Booker T and The MG’s. Often Jones is associated with the saxophone. Jones was a session musician for Stax Records and  played with Stephen Stills on his Eponymous album . Jones was familiar in R&B, soul, and electric blues.

Vocals and instrumental credits to the album :

Willie Nelson – vocals and guitar Bobbie Nelson– piano Paul English– drums Rex Ludwig– drums Jody Payne– guitar Bee Spears– bass Chris Ethridge-bass Mickey Raphael-Harmonica Booker T Jones– organ and piano

The cover of the stardust album was designed from a painting done by Guy Clark’s wife, Susanna Clark. The rear features a photograph by Beverly Parker of Willie Nelson wearing a top hat. The hats band has a beaded tribal design.

Stardust released in April 1978. The Album peaked to number one in Billboard Top Country Albums.

Songs fromthe album, “Blue Skies” and “All of Me” charted number one and three on Hot Country Songs.

By December of 1978 Stardust had been certified as Platinum. It was named Top Country Album for the Year 1978.

Willie Nelson became the highest-grossing concert act in the United States.

 In 1979, Nelson won a Grammy for Best Male Country Vocal Performance for “Georgia on My Mind.” Soon after “September Song” peaked at number fifteen in Billboard’s Hot Country Singles.

Stardust spent two years on the Billboard 200.

Rolling Stones ranks Stardust at #260 in Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.

I gotta go, it’s time to turn the record over. I can listen to this music all night long.

Pancho.