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Willie Nelson

Live at Billy Bob's Texas – 2004 (Smith Music Group)

Reviewed by David McPherson

It's appropriate the Grandpa Willie Nelson's beloved battle axe Trigger adorns the back cover of this live disc since his grizzled guitar propels this concert. Recorded in his home state at the world's largest honky tonk, the disc captures the quintessential Willie Nelson: Nelson the storyteller, Nelson the songwriter and Nelson the finger picker are all showcased throughout the 20 songs.

The disc opens with the trademark, "Whiskey River," which then flows seamlessly right into "Stay All Night (Stay a Little Longer)." Later, Nelson gives a nod to fellow Nashville songsmith, by covering a couple Kris Kristofferson gems: "Help Me Make it Through the Night" and "Me & Bobby McGee." Nelson also covers Merle Haggard's "Workin' Man Blues" with guitarist Jody Payne taking the lead vocals.

The only other time that Nelson takes a breather is when his sister Bobbie bands away on the ivories for the honky-tonk instrumental "Down Yonder." Appropriately the disc ends with the classic "On the Road Again." Nelson proves yet again that at 70, he's still got staying power, and he can stay all night.