Willie Nelson - Always on My Mind
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Always on My Mind (Columbia/Legacy, 2003)

Willie Nelson

Reviewed by Eli Messinger

1982's "Always on My Mind" provides an example of Willie Nelson lending himself to another's vision. Producer Chip Moman's years at Stax lend a soulful palate to this collection of soul and pop material. The chart-topping title track tones down Elvis Presley's melodramatic showstopper, employing a more contemplative tone that digs deeply into the lyrics' painful loss. Similarly, Nelson drops the gospel fire from Aretha Franklin's "Do Right Woman, Do Right Man" and finds a more tender groove.

Covers of pop hits like "A Whiter Shade of Pale" and "Bridge Over Troubled Water" may now appeal as calculated crossover bids, but there's something original to be found in each. The high-harmony of the former and the cracked, wavery tone of the latter each stamp Nelson's signature on otherwise iconic songs. Moman's production dates many of these tracks, with electric piano and sax that sound more like bland mid-'70s than edgy '60s soul. "Always on My Mind" shows the varied success Nelson has found in the hands of others.


CDs by Willie Nelson

First Rose of Spring, 2020 Ride Me Back Home, 2019 My Way, 2018 Last Man Standing, 2018 Willie's Stash Volume 2, 2017 God's Problem Child, 2017 Summertime Willie Nelson Sings Gershwin, 2016 Band of Brothers, 2014 To All the Girls..., 2013 Let's Face the Music and Dance, 2013 Freedom, 2012 Remember Me Vol. 1, 2011 Country Music, 2010 American Classic, 2009 Lost Highway, 2009 Naked Willie, 2009 One Hell of a Ride, 2008 Moment of Forever, 2008 Songbird, 2006 Live From Austin, TX, 2006 Songs of Cindy Walker, 2006 You Don't Know Me: The Songs of Cindy Walker, 2006


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