Willie Nelson - Let's Face the Music and Dance
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Let's Face the Music and Dance (Sony Legacy, 2013)

Willie Nelson

Reviewed by Robert Wooldridge

Willie Nelson celebrated his 80th birthday in April by releasing this collection of classics. There is 1 Nelson original here, an acoustic version of the relatively obscure track Is the Better Part Over from Nelson's 1989 album "A Horse Called Music," but for the most part, Nelson puts his unique stamp on pop, jazz and country standards.

The '50s pop/rock era is represented by an effective rendition of The Platters' hit Twilight Time and a rocking version of Carl Perkins' Matchbox. The jazz influence is prominent throughout, primarily on the Irving Berlin title track and the Fred Ahlert/Roy Turk tune Walking My Baby Back Home, most notably recorded by Nat King Cole. The instrumentals Vous Et Moi and Django Reinhardt's Nuages are showcases for Nelson's stellar jazz guitar work.

Amongst the strongest tracks are the Moon Mullican classic I'll Keep On Loving You , Spade Cooley's Shame On You and the Gene Autry 1939 movie tune South of the Border.

Nelson's brilliant guitar work is nicely supported throughout, notably by sister Bobbie Nelson on piano (featured most prominently on Twilight Time and Walking My Baby Back Home) and longtime collaborator Mickey Raphael, who delivers a scorching harmonica on Matchbox. Also on hand are Kevin Smith (bass), Paul English (drums), Jim "Moose" Brown (organ), Billy English (drums, guitar) and son Micah Nelson on percussion.

Though Willie Nelson is one of the preeminent songwriters of the past half century he proves once again with this effort that he is also a brilliant interpreter of other composers' work.

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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