Countryman [Alternate Cover]

Countryman [Alternate Cover]

by Willie Nelson
     
 

Long before Bob Marley shot (or didn't shoot) the sheriff, American country music has had a loyal following in Jamaica. Hollywood westerns and FM radio brought the sounds and images of gunslingers and cowpokes to the roughest parts of Kingston and the peaceful hillside parishes alike; some of the earliest reggae hits were covers of songs bySee more details below

Overview

Long before Bob Marley shot (or didn't shoot) the sheriff, American country music has had a loyal following in Jamaica. Hollywood westerns and FM radio brought the sounds and images of gunslingers and cowpokes to the roughest parts of Kingston and the peaceful hillside parishes alike; some of the earliest reggae hits were covers of songs by Jim Reeves, Kris Kristofferson, and Waylon Jennings. Maybe that's what makes Countryman, Willie Nelson's foray into the one-drop rhythm, sound so natural. (Nelson's well-known affinity for Jamaica's other natural products may factor in, as well.) The tuneful, gospel-rooted cadences of country & western echo those of rocksteady-era hits by John Holt, Jimmy Cliff, Toots & the Maytals, and others. Of course, Nelson embellishes with plenty of pedal steel and slide guitar, giving a folk treatment to "The Harder They Come," for example, and his own behind-the-beat vocals on classics including "I've Just Destroyed the World," "Darkness on the Face of the Earth," and "You Left Me a Long, Long Time Ago" have at long last found a perfect setting. Jamaican friends Toots Hibbert and Pam Hall provide some soulful accompaniment (Toots dueting on Johnny Cash's "Worried Man" and Hall providing backup vocals throughout), but it's Don Was's echo-laden, bass-heavy production that gives Countryman its explicit Jamaican flavor. The only thing missing from this storied set, recorded ten years ago and lost in record-company shuffles, is the dub record. But that can't be too far away, right?

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Steve Leggett
Countryman was first brainstormed by Don Was and Chris Blackwell way back in 1995 and was originally intended for release on Blackwell's Island Records. Work began in 1996 with Don Was producing, but the project almost immediately fell victim to label monkey business, and sat on Willie Nelson's back burner for nearly a decade, until Lost Highway hired producer Richard Feldman to come in and finish it. Nelson does a credible job on the two Jimmy Cliff tunes on Countryman, turning in strong, eerie, and atmospheric versions of "Sitting in Limbo" and "The Harder They Come," and he shines on his own 1960s song "Darkness on the Face of the Earth," which features a cute (sorry, no other word will do) little dub tail. [Of interest to collectors, this version of the release sports an alternate cover.]

Product Details

Release Date:
07/12/2005
Label:
Lost Highway
UPC:
0602498830857
catalogNumber:
000494702

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Tracks

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Willie Nelson   Primary Artist
Sweet Pea Atkinson   Vocals
Mickey Raphael   Harmonica
Pam Hall   Vocals
Dan Bosworth   Guitar
Harry Bowens   Vocals
Santa Davis   Drums
Richard Feldman   Guitar
Wayne Jobson   Guitar
Donald Ray Mitchell   Vocals
Stephen Stewart   Keyboards
Robby Turner   Dobro,Steel Guitar
Randy Jacobs   Guitar
Norris Webb   Keyboards

Technical Credits

Willie Nelson   Composer
Ray Price   Composer
Jimmy Cliff   Composer
Craig Allen   Art Direction
Kim Buie   Executive Producer
June Carter Cash   Composer
Hank Cochran   Composer
Richard Feldman   Producer,Engineer
Rik Pekkonen   Engineer
Stephen Stewart   Engineer
Don Was   Producer

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