Sunday, December 15, 2013

shotgun willie

Willie Nelson cleared his throat and found a new voice when he came blasting out of retirement with the outlaw funk of this crossover country classic.  Discouraged by the dwindling response to his albums, the fiery destruction of his ranch in  Ridgetop, Tennessee, and the end of his marriage to Shirley Collie; Nelson quit the music business and moved to Austin, Texas.  It was there that he got caught up in the burgeoning music scene that was bringing together rock and country audiences at the Armadillo World Headquarters music hall.  Nelson was inspired to create his own blend of country music that incorporated elements of rock, soul, and jazz; and decided to get back into the music business.  He hired Neil Rashen as his manager, who negotiated with RCA to release Nelson from his contract for a repayment of money that the label had overpaid him.  Nelson had met Atlantic Records vice-president Jerry Wexler at party in Nashville and was offered a contract with Atlantic for their new country music division.  

Sessions took place at Atlantic Studios in New York; Quadraphonic Studios in Nashville; and Sam Phillips Recording Studio in Memphis with Arif Mardin, Jerry Wexler, David Briggs all taking part in the production that featured Willie Nelson on vocals and acoustic guitar; Steve Burgh on electric guitar and acoustic guitar; James Clayton Day on dobro, pedal steel guitar, and background vocals; Bobbie Nelson on piano; Mickey Raphael on harmonica; Jeff Gutcheon on electric piano and organ; Dan Spears, Hugh McDonald, and Jack Barber on bass; George Rains, Paul English, and Steve Mosley on drums; Wayne Jackson on trumpet; Andrew Love on tenor sax; James Mitchell on baritone sax; Jack Hale on trombone; Willie Bridges on baritone sax; Dave Bromberg on electric guitar; Doug Sahm on electric guitar and background vocals; Waylon Jennings on acoustic guitar and background vocals; Augie Meyers and Red Lane on acoustic guitar; Johnny Gimble on fiddle; Jimmy Day on pedal steel guitar; Jessi Colter, Dee Moeller, and Larry Gatlin on background vocals; and Arif Mardin and Donny Hathaway on string arrangements.  

Nelson was unsatisfied with the early sessions, which ended up being released years later as 'The Troublemaker' when Nelson would move on to Columbia Records.  After more than twenty songs had been recorded, Nelson had a breakthrough one night when the title song came to him:  "In my room I paced from corner to corner...the old sensation of need surging through me.  Then I went into the bathroom and sat down.  I saw a sanitary napkin envelope on the sink.  I picked up the envelope and wrote out the lyrics."

'Shotgun Willie' was a nickname Nelson received after a shootout with his daughter's husband and his brothers that took place after Nelson threatened to kill him if he hit his daughter again.  The album only made it to number two hundred and five on the US album chart and forty-one on the US country album chart; but it established Nelson as a performer that could not be contained by the narrow confines of the country music establishment in Nashville.  'Shotgun Willie' was also the debut of his new outlaw image with a beard and long hair; and the sound that incorporated horns and electric guitar made him a crossover sensation.

"Shotgun Willie"  went to number sixty-six on the Canadian country chart and number sixty on the US country chart.

"Whiskey River"

"Stay All Night (Stay a Little Longer)"

"Devil in a Sleepin' Bag"

"A Song for You"

'Shotgun Willie' 

full album:

All tracks written by Willie Nelson, except where noted. 

Side one
1. "Shotgun Willie"   2:40
2. "Whiskey River" (Johnny Bush, Paul Stroud) 4:05
3. "Sad Songs and Waltzes"   3:08
4. "Local Memory"   2:19
5. "Slow Down Old World"   2:54
6. "Stay All Night (Stay a Little Longer)" (Bob Wills, Tommy Duncan) 2:36
Side two
1. "Devil in a Sleepin' Bag"   2:40
2. "She's Not for You"   3:15
3. "Bubbles in My Beer" (Duncan, Cindy Walker, Wills) 2:34
4. "You Look Like the Devil" (Leon Russell) 3:26
5. "So Much to Do"   3:11
6. "A Song for You" (Russell) 4:20

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