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Willie and Family Live [Expanded]

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David McGee
Originally released in 1978 as a double-vinyl album, Willie and Family Live finally makes it to CD with a couple of previously unreleased bonus tracks. Those familiar with Nelson's live shows will hear the basic template of his current concert repertoire -- "Whiskey River," "Crazy," "Night Life," "Stay a Little Longer," "Funny how Time Slips Away," "Good Hearted Woman," "Mammas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys," et al. -- and some other chestnuts that have since been supplanted by newer tunes. The family here includes sister Bobbie Nelson on honky-tonk piano, Paul English on drums, Jody Payne on guitar, Chris Ethridge on bass, and the formidable Mickey Raphael...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David McGee
Originally released in 1978 as a double-vinyl album, Willie and Family Live finally makes it to CD with a couple of previously unreleased bonus tracks. Those familiar with Nelson's live shows will hear the basic template of his current concert repertoire -- "Whiskey River," "Crazy," "Night Life," "Stay a Little Longer," "Funny how Time Slips Away," "Good Hearted Woman," "Mammas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys," et al. -- and some other chestnuts that have since been supplanted by newer tunes. The family here includes sister Bobbie Nelson on honky-tonk piano, Paul English on drums, Jody Payne on guitar, Chris Ethridge on bass, and the formidable Mickey Raphael on harmonica. So Nelson's right at home as he settles into an eclectic mode he's never left. He tips his hat to pioneers and legends: Bob Wills, via "Stay a Little Longer," A. P. Carter, via a moving "Will the Circle Be Unbroken," Lester Flatt via "Roll in My Sweet Baby's Arms," Hoagy Carmichael, via "Georgia on My Mind." He also honors gifted contemporary tunesmiths, such as Rodney Crowell a shattering take on "Till I Gain Control Again," with Emmylou Harris singing backup; the song reappears in another arrangement as a bonus track and Leon Russell "A Song for You", and of course spotlights his own classic canon. The special treats here include a powerful medley of a half-dozen songs from Willie's monumental Red Headed Stranger album and a spirited Johnny Paycheck performance of "Take This Job and Shove It," with Raphael blowing some mean harmonica along the way. Willie and Family Live is a vivid portrait of an adventurous, indefatigable troupe back in the day, and, excepting a few particulars, a calling card announcing what this merry band can do on any given night in the here and now.
All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
Recorded live at Harrah's in Lake Tahoe at the height of Willie madness in 1978, the double-CD remaster of Willie and Family Live makes an already long set even longer by the addition of two bonus tracks. Fortunately, those cuts added to the end of disc two are from the same show and include a soul-bearing alternate version of Rodney Corwell's "Til I Gain Control Again" and a tender and moving read of the Hoagy Carmichael classic "Georgia on My Mind." As for the rest, the newly warmed-up sound makes all the difference in the world. While the LP version was fantastic, this set's previous CD incarnation was shrill and lacked bottom. That's all remedied here, and what made that evening so exciting for the folks at Harrah's is plenty evident here: Nelson's band of family sister Bobbie on piano and friends -- including guest appearances by Johnny Paycheck and Emmylou Harris -- kicks ass. The material is classic Nelson, from his own songs such as "Good Hearted Woman" and "I Can Get Off on You," written with Waylon Jennings, to "Crazy" and "Funny How Time Slips Away," as well as a long suite from Red Headed Stranger. These of course are on disc one. Disc two is where the gig really heats up and the band stretches out and loosens up, playing largely segueing tunes ranging from Nelson standards and nuggets such as "Bloody Mary Morning" and "Hello Walls," a beautiful combination of "Will the Circle Be Unbroken" and "Amazing Grace," before inviting Paycheck up for "Take This Job and Shove It"! But Nelson goes right back to gospel on "Uncloudy Day" before he moves secular again. In a long suite that starts with "Only Daddy That'll Walk the Line" and continues through Leon Russell's "A Song for You," the original of "Georgia on My Mind," "I Gotta Get Drunk," and back to the show opener, "Whiskey River," Nelson Moebius-strips back to "Only Daddy That'll Walk the Line" one more time before the bonus versions kick in. In all, it's a solid, rollicking ride with one of the best bands in the business at the time and one of Nelson's more inspired performances.
Blender - John DeFore
Willie and Family Live documents his peak.

Willie and Family Live documents his peak.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 6/24/2003
  • Label: Sony
  • UPC: 696998926028
  • Catalog Number: 89260
  • Sales rank: 18,123

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Willie Nelson Primary Artist, Guitar, Vocals
Emmylou Harris Vocals, Guest Appearance
Johnny Paycheck Vocals, Guest Appearance
Mickey Raphael Harmonica
Paul English Drums
Chris Ethridge Bass
Rex Ludwick Drums
Jody Payne Guitar
Bee Spears Bass
Bobbie Nelson Piano
Technical Credits
Roy Acuff Composer
Willie Nelson Composer, Producer
Mike Garvey Engineer
Gregg Geller Reissue Producer
Mark Haynes Engineer
Mark Wilder Mastering
Virginia Team Art Direction
Howard Fritzson Art Direction
Gerard Huerta Logo
Bonnie Schiffman Cover Photo
M. Christian Composer
Traditional Composer
Tom Walsh Engineer
Linda Chang Packaging Manager
Rick Petreycik Liner Notes
Jim Beck Composer
J. B. Shinn III Composer
L. Clayton Composer
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Willie at the Peak

    If you think that Willie was always laid back, this late 70s live set should open your eyes. Nelson and his band can turn on a dime as they play country, swing, and gospel and they really fly on the up tempo numbers. The only flaw is the sound. The levels seem to wander up and down. However, the performance overrides that quibble and, to be fair, I have heard much worse. Don't let it stop you from learning why Willie Nelson was king of the Outlaws.

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