180 Gram All-Analog LP Cut from Original Analog Master Tapes by George Marino at Sterling Mastering!
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Impex Records proudly presents a true masterwork from Willie Nelson and one of the great recordings of the 1970s in lustrous 180g all-analog vinyl.
Willie Nelson's 1975 concept album, with its mystic and religious overtones, broke all of the traditional rules of country music and helped establish Austin, Texas, as ground zero of the "Outlaw" movement! Nelson's self-financed, surprise double-platinum smash helped him reach by far his largest audience and yielded the #1 country single (and Top 20 pop hit) Blues Eyes Crying in the Rain.
Willie Nelson has been part of our collective consciousness far longer than his legendary status as a performer. Long before the formally pony-tailed master of song was singing Stardust, Always On My Mind, and Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain (none of which he wrote) Nelson was a master lyricist for some of country musics greatest stars. Among the hits he wrote are Patsy Clines Crazy, Roy Orbisons Pretty Paper and the autobiographical Night Life for Ray Price.
Following the brilliant Phases And Stages Willies debut for Columbia is a brilliant concept album (nearly unheard of in country music) based around the song and story of the Red Headed Stranger. Although the song had been previously recorded by Eddy Arnold, it was Willie who would take the song to a much higher level by putting together an entire cycle of songs based around the tragic story of the Red Headed Stranger. Nelsons album is a stunning mix of original and classic songs. Among the highlights are his heart-felt interpretations of Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain, Time Of The Preacher and Can I Sleep In Your Arms by the prolific song writer Hank Cochran.
Red Headed Stranger also features Willies Family, his band, featuring his sister Bobbie (piano), Jody Payne (guitar, mandolin), the impeccable harmonica of Mickey Raphael, and the ever flawless Billy English on drums. The sound of the Impex 180 gram LP, cut from the original analog master tapes by George Marino at Sterling Mastering, should be the new reference for clarity, realism, and above all, duplicating the inimitable sound of Willies incredible singing voice.
"Newly signed to columbia, Nelson was feeling ambitious. "It was the first time I had 'artistic control,' " he recalled. "So I thought I would just start writing." Nelson had penned the song "Red Headed Stranger" years before; on a drive back to Austin after a Colorado ski trip, he fleshed out the yarn his wife, Connie, writing down the lyrics as they came out of his mouth. He kept the arrangements extremely spare, in sharp contrast to the gussied-up music coming out of Nashville at the time. The songs locked together to tell a tale of murder and infidelity, and the concept album became one of Nelson's biggest hits." - www.rollingstone.com
"This is real country music, Nelson's first album for Columbia, and the LP that brought him wider public notice. Captured at the now-defunct Autumn Sound Studios in Garland, Texas, by engineer Phil York, the album's sound is immediate, and the instruments have body and some sense of room ambience. This new reissue from Impex Records (the same folks who made Cisco Records so special) easily trumps the original issue with much fuller sound. I could listen to this record just for the luscious guitar work, but that combined with wonderful writing and singing makes it essential on a number of levels." - Dennis Davis, www.theaudiobeat.com, 5/5 Music, 4/5 Sound!!!
"Nelson had gotten his start writing hits like 'Crazy' for Patsy Cline, but his own breakthrough was a cover of an old country standard written by Rose in 1945 and originally recorded by Roy Acuff. Delivered with Nelsons jazz-singer phrasing, its the beating heart of Red Headed Stranger, his 1975 concept album about love and death in the Old West." - Rolling Stone
"If the album was a sculpture, it would be one of those horsey things you'd expect to see on the desks of George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan. It's pure Americana.
"The spare arrangements for guitars, mandolin, piano, harmonica, bass and drums leave plenty of room for Willie's voice, which appropriately dominates.
"There are musical interludes that move the story along and in a pre-VCR era, this was an album you could put on and create a wide-screen Cinemascope, Technicolor movie in your head as the songs took you through the carefully plotted narrative.
"The sonics are superb, with a spaciously laid out, cleanly and naturally rendered instrumental bed, in front of which Nelson's voice floats. If you love Willie's voice, and who doesn't, this is an opportunity to get as close to it as you'll find on record. It's even better recorded than on Stardust and while that album of standards is great, this one captures more of the pure essence that is Willie Nelson.
"The IMPEX reissue mastered by George Marino at Sterling Sound is deluxe in every way: the record is 180g pressed at RTI, the artwork is carefully scanned and reproduced, including the original's lyric insert, and the paper over cardboard jacket is what you expect for a premium priced reissue. There's an earlier Columbia/Legacy vinyl edition still out there for half the price: it sounds half as good.
"Great late night listening and easy to recommend for both music and sound." - Michael Fremer, Musicangle.com
180 gram All-Analog Vinyl
Cut from original analog master tapes
Mastered by George Marino at Sterling Mastering
Willie Nelson, vocals, guitar
Paul English, drums
Jody Payne, guitar, mandolin
Bee Spears, bass
Bobbie Nelson, piano
Mickey Raphael, harmonica
Bucky Meadows, guitar
Billy English, drums
1. Time of the Preacher
2. I Couldn't Believe It Was True
3. Time of the Preacher (Theme)
4. Medley: Blue Rock Montana/Red Headed Stranger
5. Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain
6. Red Headed Stranger
7. Time of the Preacher (Theme)
8. Just As I Am
10. O'er the Waves
11. Down Yonder
12. Can I Sleep in Your Arms?
13. Remember Me
14. Hands on the Wheel