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WILLIE NELSON —GOD’S PROBLEM CHILD (Legacy Recordings, Sony Entertainment)

http://www.legacyrecordings.com

http://www.williwnelson.com

What can I say about Texas’ legend, singer-songwriter Willie Nelson that’s not be said, other than he is without doubt living proof real country music isn’t dead. God’s Problem Child is his 9th (since the series started in 2012) release for Legacy recordings, and once again he defies father time, his vocals still cut it. After seeing some of the recent shaky shots on You Tube I feared for the outcome of the album, but no his music still has soul, and the man himself a great deal of humour too!

 

Six of the tracks are co-writes with his old friend Buddy Cannon, and there is even one from Cannon’s mother, now 92 years-old Lyndel Rhodes “Little House On The Hill”.  What a delightful piece it is. Warmed in Mickey Raphael's trademark harmonica and Willie’s guitar, trigger it oozes traditional sounds rich in warmth.  Other songs outside Cannon and himself Willie pays tribute to his late old friend, Merle Haggard via Gary Nicholson’s “He Won’t Be Forever Gone” and the Jamey Johnson – Tony Joe White co-write, title-track “God’s Problem Child”. The boys, plus the late Leon Russell also contribute as vocalists, and in the case of TJW, some guitar too. A moody song that speaks of someone struggling to get out of the mud, and despite it all heaven must love God’s problem child. With TJW in particular sounding in top form it is a real treasure. Another imported cut is “Old Timer” (Donnie Fritts – Lenny LeBlanc), and given the wistfulness of the song (steeped in gentle acoustic guitar, harmonica, Wurlitzer (Jim ‘Moore’ Brown) and pedal steel (Bobby Terry) it has a prophetic feel.   

 

When it comes to regal beauty Nelson ticks all the boxes on “It Get’s Easier”, a pretty little piece his co-write with Cannon enjoys an understated production and, it has for company the equally fine “Lady Luck”. While with a little of old swagger and melody from yesteryear “I Made A Mistake” combines wry humour with a hooky feel to pull the listener in. Loaded in pedal steel, piano and harmonica it has hit written all over it! Picking up the tempo Willie and Buddy’s look at the American election and the outcome as “Delete And Fast Forward” speaks how it is all one big circle. Musically, it did little for me. Same might be said of the Mike Reid and Sam Hunter’s tune “A Woman’s Love”; Sonny Throckmorton – Mark Sherrill’s fares better. But it doesn’t hold a candle to Nelson – Cannon bright ‘n breezy, auto-biographical (Willie) “Still Not Dead”. A song that shakes off all the cobwebs! Additional musicians include Ben Haggard (guitar, harmony vocals) on “He Won't Be Forever Gone”, and Alison Krauss (harmony vocals) and a member of her band, upright bass player Barry Bales.  

 

                                                    Maurice Hope  

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April 2018

1
Courtney Marie Andrews
100 pts.
May Your Kindness Remain
Loose Music
PK,CVL,DHO,JB,LK
2
Mary Gauthier
59 pts.
Rifles And Rosary Beads
In the Black Records
 
3
Caleb Caudle
49 pts.
Crushed Coins
Cornelius Chapel Records
TJ,TK,MP
4
Western Centuries
48 pts.
Songs From The Deluge
Free Dirt Records
DD,GS,FS,HM
5
Vivian Leva
44 pts.
Time is Everything
Free Dirt Records
 
6
Ed Romanoff
42 pts.
The Orphan King
Pinerock Records
 
7
Grant Peeples
41 pts.
Settling Scores vol. 2
Continental
AN
8
Joan Baez
32 pts.
Whistle Down The Wind
Proper Records
 
9
Jeb Barry and the Pawn Shop Saints
29 pts.
Texas, etc...
DollyRocker
MF,HDB
 
Sam Morrow
29 pts.
Concrete and Mud
Forty Below Records
JV
11
Chris Smither
27 pts.
Call Me Lucky
Signature Sounds
JSM,JD
12
Michael McDermott
26 pts.
Out From Under
Continental Song City
CRS
13
John Prine
24 pts.
The Tree of Forgiveness
Oh Boy Records
SP
14
Mary Chapin Carpenter
23 pts.
Sometimes Just The Sky
Lambent Light Records
 
15
Dean Owens
22 pts.
Southern Wind
At The Helm
PJ
16
6 String Drag
21 pts.
Top of The World
Schoolkids Records
FCE,JS
 
Haley Heynderickx
21 pts.
I Need To Start A Garden
Mama Bird Recordings
 
 
Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats
21 pts.
Tearing At The Seams
Stax Records
RM
19
Abe Partridge
20 pts.
Cotton Fields And Blood For Days
Skate Mountain
MVP,RK
 
Adam James Sorensen
20 pts.
Dust Cloud Refrain
Continental Song City
BM
 
Ben Reel
20 pts.
Land Of Escape
B REEL Records
 
 
Chip Taylor
20 pts.
Fix Your Words
Train Wreck Records
LM
 
Kesia Nagata
20 pts.
Looking For Horses
Caramal Productions
GC,EZ
 
Sheesham & Lotus & 'Son
20 pts.
Clear The Table
SepiaPhone Records
SZ,PG
25
3hattrio
18 pts.
Lord of the Desert
Okehdokee Records
 
 
Marlon Williams
18 pts.
Make Way for Love
Dead Oceans

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