One Hell of a Ride [Box Set]

One Hell of a Ride [Box Set]

4.7 4
by Willie Nelson

With this truly awesome Willie Nelson retrospective, the folks at Columbia/Legacy, experts at assembling compelling box sets, the have raised the bar to a daunting standard. Bookended by two versions of one of his earliest original tunes, "When I've Sang My Last Hillbilly Song" -- the first being the tinny, spare original executed at radio station KBOP in Pleasanton,…  See more details below


With this truly awesome Willie Nelson retrospective, the folks at Columbia/Legacy, experts at assembling compelling box sets, the have raised the bar to a daunting standard. Bookended by two versions of one of his earliest original tunes, "When I've Sang My Last Hillbilly Song" -- the first being the tinny, spare original executed at radio station KBOP in Pleasanton, Texas, in 1954, and the last, recorded in 2007, a full-band rendition with rich, ambient sound, Mickey Raphael's mournful harmonica moans, sister Bobbie Nelson's church piano, and Willie's own stinging, gut-string guitar solos and understated, bluesy vocal -- One Hell of a Ride rolls out another 98 cuts from every phase and stage of Willie's monumental career. It does what a good box set should: inspire both casual and truly ardent fans to head back into the catalog and listen with new ears for deeper hues of musical and emotional complexity. As this collection asserts, when Willie hasn't been serving up some beautiful, self-penned poetry in song, as he does predominately on the first three discs, he's made impeccable, bold choices in cover material. There's the brisk country shuffle he employs to bring a fresh, celebratory feel to Paul Simon's "Graceland," one of many startling moments on his Don Was-produced gem, Across the Borderline. As well, the duet tracks reveal an artist both confident of his place in the universe -- to the point where he can stand toe-to-toe with Ray Charles on the beautiful, Billy Sherrill-produced lament "Seven Spanish Angels" -- and eager to demonstrate a larger point, as he does in a rousing 1984 rendition of Hank Snow's classic "I'm Moving On" that features the writer himself pitching in with a couple of smoking-hot verses of his own; at a time when the industry Snow helped build had almost forgotten him, Willie made sure others didn't.

The big, beating heart of his body of work is highlighted on the latter part of Disc 1 and the entirety of Disc 2, in adventurous selections culled from the monumental '70s albums beginning with Yesterday's Wine and embracing Shotgun Willie, Phases and Stages, Red Headed Stranger, and The Sound in Your Mind and culminating in the staggering, unpredictable breakthrough of the classic pop renderings comprising 1978's mega-hit Stardust. Equally startling, arguably, is the development charted in Disc 1's first half, which begins in the aforementioned Texas radio station in 1954, with Willie in serious vocal debt to Lefty Frizzell and systematically crafting a signature sound, not only vocally and instrumentally but especially as a writer with the 1961 tsunami of "Hello Walls," "Funny How Time Slips Away" and "Crazy": remarkable recordings all, comparable to the celebrated hit versions of each recorded during Willie's brief tenure with Liberty before RCA found him. All of the usual suspects are accounted for here: Waylon, the Highwaymen, Hag, Emmylou, even Julio Iglesias, as well as the standards of the Willie canon. In the end, what to do but tip your hat and stand in awe? It has indeed been a hell of a ride, for the iconoclastic Willie and for those fans and fellow musicians who have followed him on his odyssey.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Navigating Willie Nelson's immense body of recordings can be daunting even for committed fans. There is so much music and so much of it good that it's hard to keep straight, especially as each of his many eras has been compiled, collected, and reissued countless time, leading to a discography thick with redundancies -- and then there's the stubborn fact that for Willie, making music is like breathing, something that comes naturally, something that happens every day, so he keeps building upon that discography, releasing an album or two each year, which only adds to the confusion for neophytes and longtime fans alike. All of this is a roundabout way to say that there are plenty of Willie Nelson albums out there, that there's a surplus of compilations, but of all these, nothing offers such a complete, useful overview of his entire career as Columbia/Legacy's four-disc 2008 box One Hell of a Ride. This is not the first Willie box that Legacy has released, of course -- in 1995 they put out the triple-disc Revolutions of Time: The Journey 1975-1993 -- but this is the first box to ever attempt a thorough overview of his career, beginning with his earliest singles for Sarg and D, running through the countrypolitan Nashville productions of his Liberty Records and his wonderfully rambling RCA recordings of the '60s, then settling into the star-making sides for Columbia in the '70s and '80s, yet the set doesn't end there, as it runs through his albums for Island and Mercury in the '90s and 2000s. For sheer scope, this beats all, but what makes One Hell of a Ride so useful is that it covers all the ground accurately, picking a blend of hits, concert staples, and relative obscurities to present a career overview that may be illuminating even for serious fans, as this tells a full, complete story with its 100 tracks Like many great stories, the details may be fudged a bit here -- on the second disc the tracks don't quite follow in chronological order -- but that doesn't matter because all this tweaking is done in service of the bigger picture, which is as it should be when a picture is this large. Listening to the whole of One Hell of a Ride, it's hard not to marvel yet again at the enormity of Willie's career. If he had only authored the standards "Nite Life," "Crazy," "Hello Walls," and "Funny How Time Slips Away," his place in history would be assured, but this set illustrates how Nelson strengthened the jazzy sophistication underpinning these tunes by digging deeper into Western swing, just as he slyly brought rock, folk, and pop flourishes into his music. By the time the Outlaw years roll around in the midst of the second disc here, his music was hard to peg -- certainly it was country, but not in the strictest definition, as it encompassed so much more, from the stark Red Headed Stranger to the lush Stardust, and what is remarkable about One Hell of a Ride is that by listening to it from beginning to end, none of these moves feel forced, all the evolutions feel natural, and the excellent fourth disc -- which neatly cherry-picks from a rollercoaster two decades of recordings -- illustrates that his evolution did not end when he achieved superstardom, but rather he kept finding new truths in music, sometimes through new tunes, sometimes by revisiting the past, as the nifty book-ending of the set with a new version of his first recording "When I've Sung My Last Hillbilly Song" makes clear. Willie will continue to build upon the legacy offered within this box, but that will not change the fact that this is the best place to learn and appreciate that legacy, and to learn to love it.

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Product Details

Release Date:
Sony Legacy


Disc 1

  1. When I've Sang My Last Hillbilly Song
  2. No Place for Me
  3. Man with the Blues
  4. Nite Life
  5. Hello Walls
  6. Funny How Time Slips Away
  7. Crazy
  8. Half a Man
  9. Mr. Record Man
  10. One in a Row
  11. The Party's Over
  12. Texas in My Soul
  13. Good Times
  14. Sweet Memories
  15. Little Things
  16. Any Old Arms Won't Do
  17. Everybody's Talkin'
  18. Pins and Needles (In My Heart)
  19. Once More with Feeling
  20. I Gotta Get Drunk
  21. Laying My Burdens Down
  22. What Can You Do to Me Now
  23. Kneel at the Feet of Jesus
  24. I'm a Memory
  25. Family Bible
  26. Summer of Roses
  27. Yesterday's Wine
  28. Me and Paul
  29. The Words Don't Fit the Picture

Disc 2

  1. Good Hearted Woman
  2. You Left a Long, Long Time Ago
  3. She's Not for You
  4. You Ought to Hear Me Cry
  5. It Should Be Easier Now
  6. Mammas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys
  7. If You Can't Touch Her at All
  8. I Can Get off on You
  9. Blackjack County Chain
  10. Johnny One Time
  11. Bring Me Sunshine
  12. I Just Can't Let You Say Goodbye
  13. Shotgun Willie
  14. Sad Songs and Waltzes
  15. The Troublemaker
  16. Uncloudy Day
  17. Bloody Mary Morning
  18. I Still Can't Believe You're Gone
  19. Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain
  20. I'd Have to Be Crazy
  21. If You've Got the Money I've Got the Time
  22. Always Late (With Your Kisses)
  23. She's Gone, Gone, Gone
  24. I Never Go Around Mirrors
  25. Stardust
  26. Georgia on My Mind
  27. A Song for You

Disc 3

  1. Whiskey River
  2. Till I Gain Control Again
  3. Stay a Little Longer
  4. Heartbreak Hotel  - Leon Russell
  5. One for My Baby (And One More for the Road)  - Leon Russell
  6. Help Me Make It Through the Night
  7. Midnight Rider
  8. My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys
  9. Crazy Arms  - Ray Price
  10. On the Road Again
  11. Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground
  12. Mona Lisa
  13. I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter
  14. Always on My Mind
  15. Old Friends  - Roger Miller
  16. Pancho and Lefty
  17. Reasons to Quit
  18. In the Jailhouse Now  - Webb Pierce
  19. Why Do I Have to Choose
  20. City of New Orleans
  21. To All the Girls I've Loved Before  - Julio Iglesias
  22. Three Days  - Faron Young
  23. Touch Me  - Faron Young

Disc 4

  1. Write Your Own Songs
  2. Heart of Gold
  3. I'm Movin' On  - Hank Snow
  4. Seven Spanish Angels  - Ray Charles
  5. Highwayman
  6. Living in the Promiseland
  7. What a Wonderful World
  8. Country Willie
  9. Graceland
  10. Valentine
  11. What Was It You Wanted
  12. Still Is Still Moving to Me
  13. Too Sick to Pray
  14. Everywhere I Go
  15. My Own Peculiar Way
  16. Nuages
  17. Rainbow Connection
  18. Mendocino County Line  - Lee Ann Womack
  19. The Harder They Come
  20. Bubbles in My Beer
  21. When I've Sung My Last Hillbilly Song

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Willie Nelson   Primary Artist,Synthesizer,Acoustic Guitar,Vocals,Background Vocals,Gut String Guitar,Musician
Buddy Emmons   Steel Guitar
Marty Stuart   Mandolin
Chet Atkins   Guitar,Rhythm Guitar
Johnny Cash   Vocals,Background Vocals,Guest Appearance
Johnny Gimble   Fiddle,Guitar,Mandolin,Violin
Merle Haggard   Guitar,Vocals,Background Vocals,Guest Appearance
Emmylou Harris   Vocals
Waylon Jennings   Guitar,Vocals,Background Vocals,Guest Appearance
David Lynn Jones   Guitar
Kris Kristofferson   Guitar,Vocals,Background Vocals,Musician,Guest Appearance
Ray Price   Vocals,Background Vocals,Guest Appearance
Jerry Reed   Electric Guitar
Johnny Rodriguez   Guitar,Background Vocals
Hank Snow   Vocals,Guest Appearance
Buddy Spicher   Fiddle
Ray Stevens   Piano,Vibes
Faron Young   Vocals,Guest Appearance
Ray Charles   Vocals,Guest Appearance
Leon Russell   Piano,Keyboards,Vocals,Guest Appearance
Doug Sahm   Fiddle,Background Vocals
Paul Simon   Acoustic Guitar
Michael Brecker   EWI
Matt Rollings   Piano,Hammond Organ,fender rhodes,Wurlitzer
Billy Gene English   Drums
Pete Carr   Acoustic Guitar,Dobro,Electric Guitar
Roger Miller   Guitar,Vocals,Background Vocals,Guest Appearance
Julio Iglesias   Vocals,Guest Appearance
James Burton   Guitar
Pete Drake   Steel Guitar
Donnie Fritts   Musician
Steve Gibson   Electric Guitar
Memphis Horns   Horn
Billy Swan   Musician
Sammi Smith   Background Vocals
Sweet Pea Atkinson   Background Vocals
Anita Kerr   Background Vocals
Jim Keltner   Drums
Jimmy Day   Bass,Dobro,Pedal Steel Guitar
Grady Martin   Guitar,Electric Guitar,Musician
Bill Pursell   Piano
Wade Ray   Fiddle
Billy Strange   Guitar
Larry Gatlin   Guitar,Background Vocals
Don Potter   Acoustic Guitar
Mickey Raphael   Harmonica,Musician
Johnny Western   Guitar
Pam Hall   Background Vocals
A-Strings   Strings
Ritchie Albright   Drums
Steve Appel   Musician
Kenny Aronoff   Drums
Mingo Araujo   Conga
Israel Baker   Violin
Byron Bach   Cello
Brenton Banks   Violin
Eddie Bayers   Drums
Barry Beckett   Keyboards
Benmont Tench   Organ
George Binkley   Violin
Andy Black   Background Vocals
Jim Boatman   Background Vocals
Pete Bordonali   Gut String Guitar
Dan Bosworth   Guitar
Harry Bowens   Background Vocals
Harold Bradley   Rhythm Guitar
Bobby Bruce   Violin
Stephen Bruton   Musician
Steve Burgh   Electric Guitar
Paul Buskirk   Guitar,Mandolin
Wayne Butler   Trombone,Tenor Saxophone
Red Callender   Bass
Ambrose Campbell   Percussion
Jerry Carrigan   Drums
Marvin Chantry   Viola
Chip Young   Acoustic Guitar,Rhythm Guitar
Gene Chrisman   Drums
Johnny Christopher   Guitar,Background Vocals
Glen Clark   Musician
J.R. Cobb   Acoustic Guitar,Background Vocals
Roger Crabtree   Harmonica
Sammy Creason   Musician
Santa Davis   Drums
Dorothy Dillard   Background Vocals
Debra Dobkin   Percussion
Ray Edenton   Guitar,Rhythm Guitar
Bobby Emmons   Keyboards,Synclavier
Paul English   Percussion,Drums,Musician
Chris Ethridge   Bass
Richard Feldman   Guitar
Solie Fott   Violin
Paul Franklin   Pedal Steel Guitar
Steven Fromholz   Vocals
John Gallie   Organ
Duke Goff   Bass
Dennis Good   Trombone
Marty Grebb   Saxophone
John Guerin   Drums
Jeff Gutcheon   Organ,Electric Piano
Jack Hale   Trombone
Roy Harte   Drums
Roger Hawkins   Drums
Sherman Hayes   Bass
John Hobbs   Keyboards
Ginger Holladay   Background Vocals
Mary Holladay   Background Vocals
David Hood   Bass
John Leslie Hug   Guitar
John Hughey   Pedal Steel Guitar
Craig Hull   Musician
James "Hutch" Hutchinson   Bass
Harry Hyams   Viola
Michael Hyde   Keyboards
Victor Indrizzo   Drums
Jim Isbell   Bongos
Wayne Jackson   Trumpet
Wayne Jobson   Guitar
Booker T. Jones   Organ,Piano,Musician
Jerry Kennedy   Electric Guitar
Dave Kirby   Guitar
Millie Kirkham   Background Vocals
Jerry Kroon   Drums
Sheldon Kurland   Violin
Skip Lane   Flute
Daniel Lanois   Guitar
Mike Leech   Bass,Mandolin
Kyle Lehning   Trumpet
Greg Leisz   Dobro,Pedal Steel Guitar
Darrell Leonard   Musician
Lester   Fiddle
Andrew Love   Tenor Saxophone
Rex Ludwick   Drums,Musician
Leonard Malarsky   Violin
Kenny Malone   Drums
Richard Manuel   Keyboards
Don Markham   Saxophone
David Mayo   Background Vocals
Tommy McClure   Musician
Bill McElhiney   Trumpet
Terry McMillan   Harmonica
Bucky Meadows   Guitar
Brad Mehldau   Vibes
Pierre Menard   Violin
Donald Ray Mitchell   Background Vocals
Chips Moman   Guitar,Background Vocals
Ralph Mooney   Steel Guitar
Laverna Moore   Background Vocals
Richard Morris   Percussion
Steve Mosley   Snare Drums
Wayne Moss   Electric Guitar
Gordon Mote   Piano
Weldon Myrick   Steel Guitar
Alexander Neiman   Viola
Roy Nichols   Guitar
Norman Ray   Baritone Saxophone
Louis Dean Nunley   Background Vocals
Mark O'Connor   Fiddle
Bobby Ogdin   Piano
Earl Palmer   Drums
Gordon Payne   Guitar,Harmonica,Vocal Harmony
Jody Payne   Acoustic Guitar,Mandolin,Background Vocals,Musician
Webb Pierce   Vocals,Guest Appearance
Ray Phiri   Electric Guitar
Jim Pierce   Piano
Bill Pitman   Guitar
Ray Pohlman   Electric Bass
Billy Puett   Flute
Norbert Putnam   Bass
Eberhard Ramm   French Horn
Herb Remington   Steel Guitar
Billy Ray Reynolds   Guitar
Michael Rhodes   Bass
Temple Riser   Background Vocals
Hargus "Pig" Robbins   Organ,Piano,Keyboards
Barny Robertson   Organ,Keyboards,Vocal Harmony
Rebecca Evans Russell   Background Vocals
Donald Sanders   Baritone Saxophone
Billy Sanford   Gut String Guitar
Dale Sellers   Acoustic Guitar
John Selolwane   Electric Guitar
Don Sheffield   Trumpet
Sam Shoup   Background Vocals
Lisa Silver   Background Vocals
Lee Sklar   Bass
Greg "Frosty" Smith   Musician
Stephony Smith   Background Vocals
Bee Spears   Bass,Musician
Glen Spreen   Organ,Harpsichord
Stephen Stewart   Keyboards
Henry Strzelecki   Bass
Fred Tackett   Guitar
Lewis Talley   Guitar
Darrel Terwilliger   Violin
Bobby Thompson   Banjo
Uziah "Sticky" Thompson   Percussion
George Tidwell   Trumpet
Diane Tidwell   Background Vocals
Jimmy Tittle   Bass
Robby Turner   Dobro,Pedal Steel Guitar
David Vanderkooi   Cello
Pete Wade   Guitar
Rance Wasson   Guitar,Vocal Harmony
Bergen White   Celeste,Vibes
Larry Whitmore   Guitar
Toni Wine   Background Vocals
Bobby Woods   Keyboards,Background Vocals
Rick Yancey   Background Vocals
Reggie Young   Guitar
Dave Zettner   Guitar,Rhythm Guitar
Becky Williams   Vocal Harmony
Roy Huskey   Bass
Howard Carpenter   Viola
Gene Garf   Piano
Priscilla Ann Hubbard   Background Vocals
Randy Jacobs   Guitar
Charlie McCoy   Harmonica,Melodica,Vibes
Lillian Vannhunt   Violin
Hershel Wigginton   Background Vocals
John Michael Gray   Guitar
Bobbie Nelson   Piano,Wurlitzer,Musician
B.J. Baker   Background Vocals
Mary Greene   Background Vocals
Dee Moeller   Organ,Piano,Background Vocals
Tony Mangurian   Drums
Jose McElhiney   Trumpet
Dean Reynolds   Bass
Red Wootten   Bass
Fred Carter   Acoustic Guitar,Dobro,Electric Guitar,12-string Guitar
Albert Coleman   Violin
Bob Moore & His Orchestra   Bass
Lee Ann Womack   Vocals,Guest Appearance
Sidney Sharp   Violin
Matt Serletic   electronics
Glenn Ross Campbell   Guitar
Harold E. Cruthirds   Cello
Kenneth Goldsmith   Violin
Velma E. Williams Smith   Guitar,Rhythm Guitar
Byron Williams   Violin
William Paul Ackerman   Drums
Blondie Calderon   Keyboards,Vibes
John Bush Shinn   Drums
Carole Walker   Violin
Martin Kathan   Violin,Viola
William H. Wright   Background Vocals
Brian Griffith   Guitar
Randy "The Owl" Elmore   Fiddle
Pablo Stennett   Bass
Jeannie M. Ogletree   Background Vocals
Lonnie Campbell   Drums
Hagy   Drums
Bobby Penton   Steel Guitar
Dick Shannon   Saxophone,Vibes
Bob Whitford   Piano
Larry Gadler   Musician
Norris Webb   Keyboards
David Briggs   Piano
David Carroll Kirby   Guitar
James J. Mitchell   Baritone Saxophone
Paul Matthew Davis   Guitar,Keyboards,Background Vocals
Reggie Albright   Drums
Rell Sisters   Background Vocals
David VanOsdale   Viola
Terry Williams   Trombone
Damon Elliott   French Horn

Technical Credits

Chet Atkins   Producer
Ed Bruce   Composer
Rodney Crowell   Composer
Lefty Frizzell   Composer
Merle Haggard   Composer
Waylon Jennings   Composer,Producer
David Lynn Jones   Composer
Kris Kristofferson   Composer
Willie Nelson   Composer,Producer
Mickey Newbury   Composer
Ray Pennington   Producer
Jimmie Rodgers   Composer
Hank Snow   Composer
Faron Young   Composer
Steve Goodman   Composer
Fred Neil   Composer
Shel Silverstein   Composer
Jimmy Cliff   Composer
Gregg Allman   Composer
Hoagy Carmichael   Composer
Bob Dylan   Composer
Elvis Presley   Composer
Leon Russell   Composer,Producer
Paul Simon   Composer,Producer
Neil Young   Composer
Tommy Allsup   Producer
Harold Arlen   Composer
Roger Miller   Producer
Lee Clayton   Composer
Albert Hammond   Composer
Zeb Turner   Composer
Jimmy Webb   Composer
Claude Gray   Composer
Ernest Tubb   Composer
Cindy Walker   Composer
Troy Seals   Composer
Mickey Raphael   Liner Notes
Mark James   Composer
Fred E. Ahlert   Composer
Joe Allison   Producer
Kenny Ascher   Composer
Bruce Belland   Composer
Jimmy Bralower   Drum Samples
Walt Breeland   Composer
Paul Buskirk   Composer,Producer
Hank Cochran   Composer
Hal David   Composer
Tommy Duncan   Composer
Ray Evans   Composer
Fred Foster   Producer
Dallas Frazier   Composer
Steven Fromholz   Composer
Roy Halee   Producer
Harlan Howard   Composer
Felton Jarvis   Producer
Booker T. Jones   Producer
Daniel Lanois   Producer
Jay Livingston   Composer
Arif Mardin   Producer
Johnny Mercer   Composer
Chips Moman   Producer
Ralph Mooney   Composer
A.L. Owens   Composer
Joseph M. Palmaccio   Mastering
Mitchell Parish   Composer
Richard Perry   Producer
Sydney Pollack   Producer
Fred Rose   Composer
Sanger D. Schafer   Composer
Eddie Setser   Composer
Billy Sherrill   Producer
Bernie Taupin   Composer
Townes Van Zandt   Composer
Sharon Vaughn   Composer
Don Was   Producer
George David Weiss   Composer
Jerry Wexler   Producer
Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys   Composer
Dave Zettner   Producer
Roger Miller   Composer
Stuart Gorrell   Composer
Blackie Crawford   Composer
Joe Nick Patoski   Liner Notes
Mae Boren Axton   Composer
Joseph Young   Composer
Ramón Arcusa   Producer
Matt Serletic   Composer,Producer
David Gorman   Art Direction
Steve Chadie   Engineer
Wayne Thompson   Composer
Sylvia Dee   Composer
Tommy Durden   Composer
Arthur Kent   Composer
Chuck Seals   Composer
Patsy Bruce   Composer
Amy Nelson   Producer
Floyd Jenkins   Composer
Charlie Fitch   Producer
Jim Beck   Composer
Shirley Nelson   Composer
Arthur Nakata   Art Direction
Paul Williams   Composer
Hollis R. "Red Lane" DeLaughter   Composer
John Christopher   Composer
David Somerville   Composer
Robert Thiele   Composer

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One Hell of a Ride [Box Set] 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Brand new today I've only had a chance to listen through a couple of times but have to say it ranges from easy on the ears to full on fabulous.Songs I'd never heard before had me enthralled and even the radio-friendly hits I had tired of long ago had me singing along to again. Sequencing on the 4 cds was a bit like a history lesson and I appreciate the education. Worth every penny and I don't often say that. How cool is that?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago