- Album name: Red Headed Stranger
- Artist name: Willie Nelson
- Year: 1975
- Number of discs: one
- Label: Columbia Records
- Collection: Brenner / Gessner
- Who owned it: my father
- Buy it on Amazon: $23.99
Level of familiarity before listening
I may have heard of this record before, but I don’t think I’ve ever listened to it. It will be my third Willie Nelson record, and the previous two were:
- Willie and Family Live (1978): 5/5
- Willie Nelson’s Greatest Hits (& Some That Will Be) (1981): 4/5
What I expected
What it was actually like
First of all, it’s not lost on me that I’m reviewing a Willie Nelson record on 4/20.
Anyway, I was pretty excited to listen to this one because I had two great experiences with Willie Nelson last year, but it was surprisingly and disappointingly boring. Most of the songs were really slow and sparse, just Nelson singing laconically as he played guitar, with minimal other instrumentation. The songs weren’t engaging, but they definitely conveyed a mood: solitary, desperate, discontented, weary, wary. I guess that’s “outlaw” country, right there.
Since it seemed like the songs themselves were beside the point (which was the overarching narrative) it kind of reminded me of musical theater, when they’ve got some story to tell, but it’s still a musical, so a character has to “sing” it, even though it’s kind of half-singing, half-speaking.
The title track Red Headed Stranger was definitely an exception, and I liked it the most as it was pretty lively. Remember Me was similar, and Hands on the Wheel had more of a prominent melody than the rest.
Down Yonder, an Oompa Loompa instrumental with just piano and bass, was the most different from all the others.
3/5: interesting, but not for me
|↑1||As a reminder, I put all the records on shelves when I got them, and with some minor exceptions (eg. rearranging to avoid listening to a bunch of very similar things in a row) I just take each one off the shelf in order.|