Countryman [Alternate Cover]

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Mark Schwartz
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 ...
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07/12/2005 CD Very good

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Mark Schwartz
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?
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.]
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 7/12/2005
  • Label: Lost Highway
  • UPC: 602498830857
  • Catalog Number: 000494702

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Willie Nelson Primary Artist
Sweet Pea Atkinson Vocals
Mickey Raphael Harmonica
Pam Hall Vocals
Dan Bosworth Guitar
Sir 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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