The Troublemaker [Bonus Tracks]

( 1 )

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David McGee
Suffice it to say that if Willie Nelson's intention was to make his first gospel album a re-creation of a Southern Baptist revival service, he did it in grand style on The Troublemaker, recorded in 1973 but not released until 1976. Four bonus live tracks only enhance the album's appeal, but the studio cuts gain their power from the reverence and respect afforded them by both Nelson's vocal approach and the band's subtle, low-key support. The texts are right out of the essential hymnal. A stately reading of "In the Garden" is keyed by Willie's resonant gut-string guitar soloing. On a tender version of "Sweet Bye & Bye," his rhythmic testimonial is buttressed by his ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David McGee
Suffice it to say that if Willie Nelson's intention was to make his first gospel album a re-creation of a Southern Baptist revival service, he did it in grand style on The Troublemaker, recorded in 1973 but not released until 1976. Four bonus live tracks only enhance the album's appeal, but the studio cuts gain their power from the reverence and respect afforded them by both Nelson's vocal approach and the band's subtle, low-key support. The texts are right out of the essential hymnal. A stately reading of "In the Garden" is keyed by Willie's resonant gut-string guitar soloing. On a tender version of "Sweet Bye & Bye," his rhythmic testimonial is buttressed by his sister Bobbie's romping church piano and, on the triumphant choruses, a gospel choir (its membership includes Doug Sahm, Sammie Smith, and a young Larry Gatlin). "Shall We Gather" picks up the pace on the strength of Bobbie's jubilant barrelhouse 88s and Mickey Raphael's piercing harmonica moans behind Willie's reverent vocal treatment. A seven-and-a-half-minute rendition of "Precious Memories" is a model of dignified restraint, as Willie savors each phrase and the band hums along on the strength of Bobbie's stark, somber piano solo, James Clayton Day's otherworldly pedal steel moans, and Willie's nearly song-length solo on his gut-string. Of more recent vintage, the title track, which Willie performs with only sporadic fills from his acoustic guitar, is an account of Christ's arrest on unspecified charges (his shaggy appearance and anti-establishment stance turn the populace against him) and subsequent execution on Calvary. Deep and stirring, The Troublemaker occupies an honored place in Willie's catalogue. Praise the Lord, it's back.
All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Released in late 1976, at the height of Willie-mania, The Troublemaker is Willie Nelson's first all-gospel album, but country gospel in his hands doesn't sound like traditional country gospel -- it's a Willie album, through and through, performed with the freewheeling Family as support. Consequently, it's every bit as wonderfully idiosyncratic as any of his other mid-'70s work and, in some ways, even more so, because inspirational songs and religious material are usually not given arrangements as imaginative and free-spirited as this. Although the album can be divided pretty evenly between ballads and rollicking up-tempo numbers, there is the inherent jazz-like unpredictability in the performances of Nelson and his band that makes even familiar numbers like "Will the Circle Be Unbroken" sound spontaneous. Then again, the choice of material also helps, because that song is the most familiar here; while many of the other numbers are also country gospel standards, they're not recorded nearly as often as "Circle" and these song choices also give The Troublemaker a unique, fresh feel. Another interesting thing about the album is that the music, not the message, is at the forefront, which is why it doesn't sound separate from his other mid-'70s peaks. Although it is overshadowed by them both, the sublime subtlety of the performances on The Troublemaker make it sound of a piece with The Red Headed Stranger and Stardust. It may not be nearly as popular as either, but musically, it's just as satisfying and is one of the quiet highlights in Willie's vast catalog. [The Troublemaker was reissued in a remastered, expanded edition with four bonus tracks: live versions of "The Troublemaker," "Will the Circle Be Unbroken," "When the Roll Is Called Up Yonder," and "Amazing Grace," which is the only song in the bonus tracks not featured on the album. All these bonus tracks were recorded in June 1974 at the Texas Opry House, and they're loose, lively, and terrific -- nice additions to an already great album.]
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 2/1/2008
  • Label: Sbme Special Mkts.
  • UPC: 886972361727
  • Catalog Number: 723617
  • Sales rank: 50,787

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Willie Nelson Primary Artist, Guitar, Vocals
Johnny Gimble Fiddle, Mandolin
B.W. Stevenson Background Vocals
Doug Sahm Fiddle, Background Vocals
Sammi Smith Background Vocals
Jimmy Day Dobro, Pedal Steel Guitar, Steel Guitar
Larry Gatlin Guitar, Background Vocals
Mickey Raphael Harmonica
Paul English Drums
Jeff Gutcheon Organ
Bee Spears Bass, Bass Guitar
Bobbie Nelson Piano
Dee Moeller Background Vocals
James Clayton Day Dobro, Steel Guitar
Technical Credits
Roy Acuff Composer
Willie Nelson Arranger, Composer
J.J. Cale Composer
Bruce Belland Composer
A.P. Carter Composer
Lewis Hahn Remixing
Arif Mardin Producer, Audio Production
John Newton Composer
Joseph M. Palmaccio Mastering
Gene Paul Engineer
Dave Somerville Composer
Harry Von Tilzer Composer
Rich Kienzle Liner Notes
Al Quaglieri Reissue Producer
Howard Fritzson Art Direction
M. Christian Composer
Traditional Composer
C. Austin Miles Composer
Norm Elrod Packaging Manager
W. M. Golden Composer
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Gospel Willie

    When Willie Nelson recorded this album in 1973, it was a daring career move. By the time it was released four years later, he was a superstar and could release a version of the phone directory if he wanted. That said, this is an excellent, unadorned gospel album. Willie and the band play these songs with a real sense of reverence and commitment, but don't turn them into museum pieces. If you have heard some of the rollicking gospel cuts on Willie and Family Live, this is more of the same. The only weak link is Willie's self-penned title track, which sounds more dated than the old hymns.

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