Willie Nelson - Naked Willie
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Naked Willie (RCA Nashville/Legacy, 2009)

Willie Nelson

Reviewed by Robert Wooldridge

Longtime harmonica player Mickey Raphael has done for Willie Nelson what Paul McCartney did for The Beatles with the stripped down "Let It Be...Naked." With Nelson's blessing Raphael revisited Nelson's RCA catalog and remixed several tracks, removing layers of strings, horns and background singers to get closer to Nelson's original vision of the tunes.

On several tracks, including I'm A Memory, Following Me Around and Johnny One Time, Nelson's guitar is rescued from the mix. Similarly Nelson's vocals are made more prominent in Where Do You Stand? and Sunday Morning Coming Down. The Local Memory and I Let My Mind Wander benefit particularly from the removal of background singers.

The jazzy Bring Me Sunshine, on which the original use of horns and strings seems quite natural lost something in the stripping process.

As with McCartney's de-Spectorization of "Let It Be," some purists will object to tampering with the arrangements of original producers Chet Atkins, Felton Jarvis and Danny Davis. Many Nelson fans, however, will enjoy getting to hear these songs the way the artist conceived them.

CDs by Willie Nelson

The Border, 2024 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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