March 1, 2006

Drinking Songs: Whiskey River

Shotgun Willie NelsonThere are some songs that require you to have a drink in your hand while you listen. One of those songs is "Whiskey River" by Willie Nelson. Nelson is a freaking genius, and it's the kind of song that makes you either want to jump up and down or cry into your glass, depending on your mood. His voice perfectly captures the feeling of wanting to pour whiskey on your sorrows, and it doesn't hurt that the rest of his career jumpstarting album "Shotgun Willie" is great too. Plus, for all you drinkers out there, you might also like "Bubbles in my Beer."

You can buy it at Amazon for under ten bucks, or if you need more convincing, read on. essential recording Frustrated by eight years without creative freedom or commercial success, Willie Nelson left RCA Victor in 1972 only to be signed by Atlantic Records VP Jerry Wexler, a longtime fan. Willie and a group of Texas, Nashville, and Manhattan musicians (Doug Sahm and Larry Gatlin among them) recorded three albums worth of material in New York, including this benchmark collection.

A musical crazy quilt reflecting Nelson's own freewheeling repertoire, it mixed Willie compositions old ("Slow Down Old World") and new ("Shotgun Willie") with a Bob Wills favorite ("Bubbles in My Beer"), Johnny Bush's Texas barroom anthem "Whiskey River," and a stately rendition of Leon Russell's "A Song for You."

Literate, sharply focused, and earthy, it proved a turning point, validating Willie's creative quest aesthetically. The triumph was also a commercial one. Acclaimed by the rock music press, Shotgun Willie attracted many younger fans to become Nelson's bestselling album to date, paving the way for his future superstardom at Columbia and beyond. --Rich Kienzle

Read more and buy your copy at Amazon - oh, and don't forget to stock up on whiskey and hankies before you listen.

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Posted by Jake Jamieson at March 1, 2006 8:28 PM
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