Featuring tunes from 1966-1970, Naked Willie is not a mere compilation album but rather features tracks that have been “un-produced” by Nelson’s longtime harmonica player, Mickey Raphael. Nelson was frustrated at the time of the recordings by the syrupy strings, group choruses, and generally slick production values of the “Nashville Sound.” Raphael says this is what the tunes might have sounded like if Nelson had been able to produce his own sessions when he was in his prime.
Top gems include “If You Could See What’s Going Through My Mind” and “Sunday Morning Coming Down,” both of which feature mid-tempo, country-rock styles and some of Willie’s best vocals, with more of a groove than one would normally expect. “Laying My Burdens Down” closes the album with a spirited, universal anthem for personal adversity that resonates with even more timeless essence in its stripped-down form.
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