BN.com Gift Guide

Crazy: The Demo Sessions

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David McGee
Both a history lesson and a buried treasure of an album, these "demo sessions" fuse dedicated craftsmanship with soulful expression to produce timeless, provocative music. It begins with Willie Nelson's lightly strummed acoustic guitar and his voice, unadorned by anything save life lived close to the bone, the perfect vehicle for a harrowing internal monologue. Nelson recorded these 18 songs -- which have been digitally restored and remastered for this release -- in the '60s, hoping to pitch them to other artists or eventually release them under his own name. Indeed, many of the songs are familiar in cover versions, including the same small-combo take of "Crazy" that ...
See more details below
CD
$15.64
BN.com price
(Save 13%)$17.99 List Price
Other sellers (CD)
  • All (5) from $2.44   
  • New (3) from $12.50   
  • Used (2) from $2.44   

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David McGee
Both a history lesson and a buried treasure of an album, these "demo sessions" fuse dedicated craftsmanship with soulful expression to produce timeless, provocative music. It begins with Willie Nelson's lightly strummed acoustic guitar and his voice, unadorned by anything save life lived close to the bone, the perfect vehicle for a harrowing internal monologue. Nelson recorded these 18 songs -- which have been digitally restored and remastered for this release -- in the '60s, hoping to pitch them to other artists or eventually release them under his own name. Indeed, many of the songs are familiar in cover versions, including the same small-combo take of "Crazy" that Patsy Cline first heard, and several others have shown up on Willie's own albums over the years, most recently on 1998's Teatro. But few people have ever heard them performed as they are here, especially the first eight mesmerizing tracks featuring Nelson's voice with little more than an acoustic guitar for backing. Hank Cochran co-wrote and sings on the beautiful, Louvin Brothers–like "What Do You Think of Her Now," while the remaining cuts feature a honky-tonkin' band, bopping out on "Things to Remember" and 1970's "I Gotta Get Drunk" still a staple of Willie's live shows, getting bluer than blue on the tortured ballad "Something to Think About," and proffering a brisk shuffle to enliven a familiar tale of persistent, masochistic love on the previously unreleased "I'm Still Here." Three unlisted "ghost tracks" round out the tunestack, and the enhanced CD also includes an interview with Cochran, who recalls his and Willie's scuffling days in Nashville. But the song's the thing, and these 18 comprise one of the essential albums in a great artist's distinguished catalogue.
All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Prior to become a recording artist, Willie Nelson cut a number of demos for Pamper Music, a publishing company co-owned by Ray Price and Hal Smith. Though he had some success once he started pursuing his recording career in earnest in the '60s, he continued to cut publishing demos, partially because he was better known as a writer than a performer. Some of these demos have come out on assorted reissues over the years, but Sugar Hill's 2003 collection Crazy: The Demo Sessions is the first comprehensive collection of this work, and it's a very welcome addition to Nelson's often unwieldy discography. Nelson's earliest recordings for Liberty and to a lesser extent, his recordings for RCA in the '60s have been roundly criticized for awkward, string-laden country-pop arrangements -- a criticism that may have been overstated, but is certainly valid -- and this serves as a counterpoint to those polished recordings, since these publishing demos are spare and unadorned, all recorded in one take. The first eight songs are Nelson alone with a guitar and occasionally a harmony vocalist, and these songs sound like precursors to Red Headed Stranger in their intimate directness. The remaining seven feature Nelson backed by a band, which follows his lead and turns in loose, warm performances that follow his trademark idiosyncratic delivery. There are also three other unlisted songs added as an unlisted bonus on the 16th track, recorded with band. Many of these songs were made into hits by artists other than Nelson: Of course, there is Patsy Cline's "Crazy," which was cut after hearing this demo, but several other songs were brought to the charts by such Nelson patrons as Ray Price and Faron Young. Many of these songs remained in Nelson's repertoire over the years, highlighted by "Crazy," the great honky tonk raver "I Gotta Get Drunk," "Three Days," and "The Local Memory," but several of these also showed up on his 1998 album Teatro. Nevertheless, many titles won't be especially familiar to anyone outside of hardcore Nelson followers -- and one title, "I'm Still Here," was not known to exist prior to this release -- and it's a testament to his body of work that they seem like minor works compared to his other songs; by any other standard, they're major works. Certainly, the quality of the songs is excellent -- it's easy to see why other singers would want to cut the songs after hearing them here -- but it's not just the quality of the songs that makes this a revelation, since Nelson's stature as a songwriter is secure. What is revelatory about Crazy: The Demo Sessions is how it illustrates that Nelson had a handle on his distinctive, idiosyncratic vocal and performing style very early in his career -- much earlier than his records suggested. But what makes this such a wonderful, even essential release, is that these performances are as good and affecting as anything Nelson ever cut, and are endlessly listenable not for historical reasons, but for pure musical enjoyment.
Rolling Stone - Gavin Edwards
The young Nelson had already figured out how to be both sly and sad.

The young Nelson had already figured out how to be both sly and sad.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • Release Date: 2/11/2003
  • Label: Sugarhill
  • UPC: 015891107325
  • Catalog Number: 1073
  • Sales rank: 199,037

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Willie Nelson Primary Artist, Guitar, Soloist
Buddy Emmons Steel Guitar
Jimmy Day Steel Guitar
Floyd Chance Bass
Ray Edenton Guitar
Buddy Harman Drums
Hargus "Pig" Robbins Piano
Pete Wade Guitar
Roy Huskey Jr. Bass
Bob Moore Bass
Technical Credits
Willie Nelson Producer
Faron Young Composer
Steve Fishell Producer, Liner Notes, Video Producer
Buddy Miller Digital Editing
Denny Purcell Mastering
Steve Wilkison Authoring
Ed Rode Cover Photo
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously