Something happened to Willie at the dawn of the 70s. The established country writer and performer was his usual dapper self on the cover of 1970’s Both Sides Now (click HERE for a pop-up look). But, by 1971’s Willie Nelson & Family, he was hanging, commune-style, in the woods, seemingly just waiting for a time when he could both be himself and be a part of the oft-conservative country music establishment… at the same time. It would take a few more years before the “outlaw movement” would induct Willie, but until then, there was this tentative baby step outside the restrictive confines of C&W convention. And it starts with the material. Willie singing Kris Kristofferson’s “wishin’ lord that I was stoned” in “Sunday Mornin’ Comin’ Down” sets the tone, while James Taylor’s “Fire And Rain” was part of a relatively new practice of covering modern pop songwriters. Willie still clearly had a foot in old tradition on this LP (country weepers, gospel sources, over-production), but you can see the cracks in the country facade starting to show. Willie Nelson & Family isn’t what you’d call “essential” Nelson, as it’s more of a missing link than anything else. But, it’s Willie, nonetheless. After this baby step, it was just a matter of time. It’s missing at Amazon, too, as hard disc copies are not to be found.
What Can You Do To Me Now (3:26)
Sunday Mornin’ Comin’ Down (5:46)
I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry (2:22)
Fire And Rain( 2:56)
Kneel At The Feet Of Jesus (2:44)
I’m A Memory (2:22)
Yours Love (2:59)
I Can Cry Again (2:56)
That’s Why I Love Her So (2:29)
Today I Started Loving You Again (4:00)
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