Sunday, July 02, 2006

Five stars for Willie Nelson

Stephen Thomas Erlewine has reviewed the new three-disc Willie Nelson box set, The Complete Atlantic Sessions, which includes two hard-to-find Nelson classics, as well as an entire live set and plenty of B-sides and studio outtakes. And is it a set worth having? Well, it is according to Erlewine, who gives it a whopping five-star rating:

So, even if Nelson's time with Atlantic was brief, it was certainly pivotal, and ripe for a collection like Rhino's superb 2006 triple-disc set The Complete Atlantic Sessions. Over the course of these three discs, the two albums are presented in their entirety, adorned with outtakes -- some alternate takes, some early versions, some unreleased songs -- and then on the third disc the scrapped live album Live at the Texas Opry House is presented... Nelson has had plenty of great live shows over the years, but this is one of the best captured on record, and the vitality of this show -- it still sounds exciting decades after it was recorded -- acts as a wonderful counterpoint to the carefully considered studio albums. And all three discs together add up to an essential testament to Willie Nelson's most creative period.

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