DOUBLE-BARRELED AND TWO-FISTED: Another Look at Shotgun Willie
Willie Nelson was still slightly under the radar in some parts when this record was released in 1973, though today the listener can get a sense that he was aware of his burgeoning star-power as he cut these undeniably classic tracks. He had all ready recorded over a dozen albums, charted a slew of singles and wrote many hits for other artists such as “Crazy” by Patsy Cline, “Hello Walls” by Faron Young and “Night Life”, which has been recorded by…well, by just about everyone.
The lyrics to his original compositions seem informed with the fact that this was a success on the rise, the wry irony of Sad Songs and Waltzes declaring “…it’s a good thing I’m not a star…you don’t know how lucky you are…” because he has written a song about his lover’s infidelity, “…you have no need to fear it… ’cause no one will hear it…sad songs and waltzes ain’t sellin’ this year…”
Through out this recording, Willie directs the ensemble and guides the listener deftly on an odyssey of musical adventure that shifts from full Texas swing to bluesy bar songs to the sparse intimacy of Willie alone with his guitar, sometimes all in one song (“Local Memory” comes to mind).
Though the sessions for Shotgun Willie were split between New York City, Nashville and Memphis the Lone Star flag is flyin’ high with the inclusion of two Bob Wills numbers and the song “Whiskey River”, which was written by fellow Texan Johnny Bush. Thanks to a couple of Leon Russell songs, a bit of the Tulsa Sound is also represented.
Do yourself a favor and grab one of those funny discs that eat lasers or better yet, snag a warm vinyl copy of Shotgun Willie. You will not be disappointed.