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Michael Fremer Rated 7/11 Music, 9/11 Sonics!
"Hello Walls", "Crazy", "Funny How Time Slips Away". These are some of the most memorable hits in the Willie Nelson songwriting canon. One of the most important musical artists in American history, a first-name giant like Elvis and Ella, Willie scored these and more hits with his debut album - ...and then I wrote. (Texas Monthly magazine ranks it No. 4 on their ranked list of all 145 Willie Nelson albums.)
In 1961 Willie Nelson was finally in Nashville and tasting success after years of scraping by in various locales, on his gift for making heartaches and memories rhyme. Nelson's songs "Crazy", "Hello Walls" and "Funny How Time Slips Away" became huge hits for Patsy Cline, Faron Young and Billy Walker, respectively. The royalty checks - fat ones - were rolling in.
But Willie wanted more. These songs were his essence, and he wanted country music fans to know they poured out of his soul. The next fall, in 1962, he debuted his first full-length album with Liberty Records, and called it ...and then I wrote. It was perhaps the most accomplished debut album in history.
"For many of us born in the six decades since, it's impossible to imagine a world in which these songs didn't exist. If you grew up in Texas, they were likely just about everywhere: at ballgames and cookouts and weddings and funerals, on road trips and the radio and every jukebox you've ever flipped through," writes Texas Monthly.
How best to apply the Analogue Productions reissue treatment to such a historic veteran country classic? Well, for starters, there was no doubt this classic deserved the wider-spaced grooves, improved cartridge tracking, and noticeable reductions in distortion and high frequency loss that are testament to a 45 RPM four-sided AP reissue. So four glorious sides of 180-gram dead-silent vinyl pressed by Quality Record Pressings it would have to be. And the mastering? Top-notch marks there as well. The capable hands of engineer Matthew Lutthans at The Mastering Lab by Acoustic Sounds working with the original master tape sounds amazing. The Mastering Lab by Acoustic Sounds upholds the quality standard achieved by the late Grammy-winning mastering engineer Doug Sax that made the brand famous.
It wasn't just the songs on the album that ascended to the country canon, including the three previously mentioned hits that appear back-to-back, but the deep cuts like "Mr. Record Man", "Undo The Right" and "Wake Me When It's Over." ...and then I wrote isn't just one of the greatest debuts of all time - it's one of the best singer-songwriter records ever recorded.
The sheen of the Nashville sound on this record is mercifully dialed down. It was produced by the head of Liberty's country division, Joe Allison, partly in Music Row's famous Quonset Hut studio and partly in Hollywood. Allison appreciated Willie's idiosyncratic singing style and kept his vocals out front, dropping the glossy chorus back in the mix and eschewing strings altogether.
The album produced one Top Ten single ("Touch Me"), yet none of the other three singles made the charts. Yet if it were released today, people would mistake it for a Willie's Greatest Hits record. Patsy Cline released her definitive version of "Crazy" in 1961, and in the years since it's been recorded by dozens of artists, from Linda Ronstadt to Chaka Khan to Austin emo band Mineral to, for the first time on this record, Willie himself.
It's the song that would take him from poet-picker to a composer worthy of inclusion in the Great American Songbook. The Analogue Productions reissue of ...and then I wrote will find its place of honor at the top of the most cherished LPs in your music collection.
Matt Lutthans mastered at 45rpm on the finally fully up and perfectly running The Mastering Lab's tube-based cutting system now housed at Blue Heaven Studios in Salina, Kansas. How great it is to see the TML-M stamp on two brand new slabs of 180g QRP pressed records. Housed in gatefold Stoughton Press 'Tip on' jacket. Willie Nelson fans will want to have this.
- Limited to One Copy Per Customer
- 180g Vinyl
- Double LP
- Dead-quiet vinyl
- Wider grooves allow more accurate cartridge tracking
- Reduced distortion and high frequency loss
- Mastered by Matthew Luthans at The Mastering Lab by Acoustic Sounds from the original master tape
- Pressed at Quality Record Pressings
- Deluxe Stoughton Printing tip-on gatefold jacket
- Touch Me
- Wake Me When It's Over
- Hello Walls
- Funny How Time Slips Away
- The Part Where I Cry
- Mr. Record Man
- Three Days
- One Step Beyond
- Undo The Right
- Darkness On The Face Of The Earth
- Where My House Lives