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'10 essential' Willie Nelson albums

• May 8, 2018 at 5:00 PM

Don’t look now, but Willie Nelson recently turned 85.

What’s that? You thought he was that old maybe 20 years ago?

Well, livin’ large like Willie will do that to you.

Local music blogger Brett Billedeau celebrated Willie’s birthday by listing what he says are the “10 essential albums” by the red-headed (I’m sure gray-headed these days) country singer.

“I've written about Willie Nelson numerous times and it's always a daunting task because so many writers have said so much about him over his 60-plus-year career that finding something original to say is difficult,” Billedeau wrote. “Born into a farming community in Abbott, Texas, on April 29, 1933 (not April 30, as mistakenly written by the doctor who delivered him), Willie was raised mostly by his grandparents. He began writing poems and songs in elementary school and learned music from his piano playing sister Bobbie, who at 87 herself is still a prominent member of his Family Band on the road.”

Billedeau says Willie has released more albums than he can count.

“He's recorded some of his own songs dozens of times in multiple styles — and now, to celebrate his 85th birthday, just released ‘Last Man Standing,’ a late-career collection of original recordings,” he noted.

Topping Billedeau’s list is Willie’s 1974 release, “Phases and Stages.”

“He'd started making concept albums several years before but this is probably his best concept record. The story of a break-up told from both a woman's point of view (Side A) and a man's (Side B), classics like ‘Walkin',’ ‘Bloody Mary Morning,’ and ‘Pretend I Never Happened’ make this one of his strongest albums of the decade.”

Some on the list may be better known: “Waylon & Willie” (1978), which includes: “Mammas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys.”

Read the complete blog post: “Happy 85th Birthday, Willie Hugh Nelson - Ten Essential Albums”

The opinions expressed by bloggers are not necessarily shared by the Grand Haven Tribune or its employees. They are the sole opinion of the bloggers, who are not employed by or compensated by the Tribune.

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