Willie Nelson - Songs of Cindy Walker
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Songs of Cindy Walker (Lost Highway, 2006)

Willie Nelson

Reviewed by Eli Messinger

Willie Nelson’s prolific streak of releases on Lost Highway (including live and studio LPs each of the past three years) continues with this collection of Cindy Walker covers. Walker’s songs are best known as hits rendered by a who’s-who of swing, honky-tonk, country and pop stars that includes Bob Wills, Ernest Tubb, Webb Pierce, Merle Haggard, Eddy Arnold and Ray Charles.

The Texas soul of Walker’s songs fit Nelson to a tee, and as a legendary songsmith in his own right, his devotion to Walker’s work is both a compliment and an acknowledgement of these songs’ fundamental role in his own artistic development.

One time Texas Playboy fiddler Johnny Gimble leads a stellar swing combo that includes the steel of Buddy Emmons and background harmonies of The Jordanaires. Nelson’s familiarity with the material occasionally turns his vocals too casual, but the highlights are outstanding, including a jazzy rendition of “Don’t Be Ashamed of Your Age,” a forlorn, heartbroken reading of “Not That I Care,” a wearily styled “Warm Red Wine” and a warm, Western-themed take on “Dusty Skies.”

Nelson’s a skilled interpreter, and backed by a sympathetically swinging combo, this is a wonderful tip-of-the-cowboy-hat to Walker’s songwriting.

CDs by Willie Nelson

Bluegrass, 2023 Don't Know A Thing About Love, 2023 A Beautiful Time, 2022 That's Life, 2021 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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