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Willie Nelson – Stardust (1978)

November 19, 2016


Unbelievable USA logo by Sarca @ caughtmegaming

USA Artists (so far): Aimee Mann, Marty Robbins, D’Angelo, The Modern Lovers, Bruce Springsteen, Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliott, Steely Dan, Grant Lee Buffalo, 2Pac, Harry Nilsson, Linkin Park, Willie Nelson


[Album 491/1001]

Stardust Attempt #1: Purchased cassette (likely $1). Tape made high pitched squealing noise in stereo. Shrugged shoulders, in a Seinfeld way exclaimed,”that’s a shame.”

Stardust Attempt #2: Purchased cassette (10¢!). Returned home, opened case, wrong Willie Nelson album inside. Two failed attempts. In an angry-tower-controller-in-Top-Gun way exclaimed, “That’s Twice!

Stardust Attempt #3: Splurged and scooped a working LP for $5. Third time’s the charm.

And records don’t come much more charming than Stardust.




One of my most reliable metrics for assessing albums is how frequently I find myself putting the record back on the turntable. I have a feeling I’ll be doing quite a bit of that with Stardust, even long after the 1001 project is completed.

My long-term enjoyment from an album also tends to boil down to the performers and their performances. In this case, take away the recording context, forget the circumstances, ignore anything Willie did before or since: on Stardust, you still have 10 fine performances of 10 fabulous songs.220px-willie_nelson_stardust

Whether he recorded the ‘definitive’ version of any of these familiar tracks is inconsequential; he brings his gentle, distinctive tone throughout, and the album works marvelously as a complete set.

I suppose Stardust is ultimately on the list for its significance, for the audacity of Nelson’s decision to potentially lose some ‘outlaw’ credibility by recording an album of American pop standards.

Yet in hindsight, he ignored the advice of those in charge, risked his own neck, and just went ahead and did what he wanted. Does it get any more ‘outlaw’ than that?


Verbalize the Positive

I appreciate that I got to revisit The Tragically Hip catalogue this summer with Brian @ boppinsblog. I’m also consistently intrigued by his album ratings out of 10, as a math fan, I particularly enjoyed the recent near-perfect 9.85 & 9.95 scores!

From → 1970s

  1. Glad you enjoyed yourself some Willie! Looks like the cassette was on CBS/Sony? I found their cassettes to be rather well made, compared to EMI. I had an Yngwie Malmsteen album that was unlistenable due to that high pitched squeal. I wonder if your issue was the same as mine — the internal tape actually squealing inside the shell. Sounded like everything was wound way too tight inside.

    • It was a CBS – good eye! It’s the first time I’ve had an issue with one of theirs, I wouldn’t be surprised if that was the case here.
      I was tempted to put the Willie Nelson cameo from Austin Powers 2 in this review – may have to put it in when I review Red Headed Stranger!

      • Oh yeah! Willie’s cameo! That and Woody were the best two.

        Willie was pretty funny in Dukes of Hazzard too. Lots of one liners.

        “Hey, why are divorces so expensive? Because they’re worth it!”

    • Oh and I meant to say I was thinking of you guys watching the Leafs highlights this week – has Jen added ‘Mitch Marner Jersey’ to her Christmas wish list yet?!

      • Yes she has and strongly suggested last night that it’s her #1 gift!

      • If Matthews breaks out of his recent slump, he’d be a good #1B gift!

      • Funny how it’s called a slump! He’s had a better season so far than many others!

      • It’s like when Gretky stopped scoring 200+ points per season, people wondered, what’s wrong with Gretzky – he was still leading the league!

    • I can’t see Willie N ever being wound up too tight ….

  2. From Mikey Metallica to Willie Geoff!
    $6.10 for 3 copies!
    Not too bad ….
    Caught Willie here in Tbay about 1990 or so. He showed up to play the Gardens and the dude back than was an icon so all us Bangers had to go and why not man….History!

    • Metallica, Willie – You never know what reviews will show up in the community news feed!
      Absolutely – there’s certain iconic artists like that for me too, ones I wouldn’t necessarily listen to on my own, but if they perform in town? I’m there!

      • Love the Feed! Yup we also caught Dwight Yokam as well…maybe 1988 or so? Its when his Guitars/Cadillacs tune was huge! Went to that one as well when he rolled through Tbay!
        Still laugh at his stage set up. I mean going to rock shows with fire/lighting trusses/drum risers ands here’s Dwight on stage with his band…simple set up,couple of amps drums and a cactus over on Stage Right!
        Ha..simple yet effective to remember it all these years later!

      • A cactus, that’s a nice detail – shame it wasn’t 2, then he’d be the guy playing with cacti on stage!

  3. Lovely review of a gentle, autumnal album. We sold a lot of these in the shop in suburban Bentleigh.

    • Cheers Bruce – I doubt any of those customers suffered much buyer’s remorse from this LP.
      I was a fine listen for an autumnal evening!

  4. Hi Geoff, I’ve nominated you for the inaugural Treasure Trove Award! There are no rules or tasks involved. You can find your award here:
    If you prefer not to be involved with awards, please accept this as a gesture of my appreciation.

  5. I dare say the $6.10 it cost you in the end was worth it. I’ve only spotted this once in the wild, but the price and condition just didn’t work. You could say the maths was all wrong.

    • I’m quite pleased with the Return on Investment for sure.
      Given the added effort here with the two failed attempts, I may actually be even more satisfied when it finally worked out. Unlike many music purchases in 2016, I actually invested some time & energy in the purchase here!

      • I’ve experienced that! I once bought a copy of The Cars’ debut only to find Elton John Greatest Hits in there… I spend so much time looking at the condition of the LP rather than the labels! Second copy was splendid, though… I felt like a winner.

      • Though the EJ greatest hits is worth having in the collection too!

      • It was only £1.

  6. Willie rules. And this one is like shooting fish in a barrel – he couldn’t possibly go wrong, with that selection of standards! I have this on LP too. Covered it on the KMA< basically just said it's awesome.

    Shame your cassette copies didn't work out and you had to wait, but you prevailed! Well done, Geoff!

    • Failed cassettes & all, Mr. Nelson was definitely worth the wait!
      It’s true that it was a pretty safe bet here – I remember thinking that when I looked at Ella Fitzgerald sings the Gershwin Song Book accompanied by the Nelson Riddle Orchestra, talk about guaranteed enjoyment!

  7. Also thought you’d find this interesting, in terms of this one’s legacy:

    From Wiki:

    In 1979, Nelson won a Grammy Award for Best Male Country Vocal Performance for the song “Georgia on My Mind”. Stardust was on the Billboard’s Country Album charts for ten years—from its release until 1988. The album also reached number one in New Zealand and number five in Australia in 1980. In 2003, the album was ranked number 257 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. It was originally certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America in December 1978. In 1984, when it was certified triple platinum, Nelson was the highest-grossing concert act in the United States. In 2002, the album was certified quintuple platinum, and it was later inducted in the Grammy Hall of Fame class of 2015.

    • quintuple platinum, both a great term & great achievement!

      • I think that’s what I’ll call my first album. How could it not succeed?

      • Either way it works – if you don’t hit the sales target, you were just being ‘ironic’ – if you do, you were remarkably prescient!

  8. Zack permalink

    Congratulations! You’ve just won a Liebster Award.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Emmylou Harris – Pieces of the Sky (1975) | 1001albumsin10years
  2. Randy Newman – Good Old Boys (1974) | 1001albumsin10years
  3. The Monkees – Headquarters (1967) | 1001albumsin10years
  4. Liz Phair – Exile in Guyville (1993) | 1001albumsin10years
  5. The Byrds – Younger than Yesterday (1967) | 1001albumsin10years
  6. Anita Baker – Rapture (1986) | 1001albumsin10years
  7. Circle Jerks – Group Sex (1980) | 1001albumsin10years
  8. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers – Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers (1976) | 1001albumsin10years
  9. Wilco – Being There (1996) | 1001albumsin10years
  10. Bon Jovi – Slippery When Wet (1986) | 1001albumsin10years
  11. 1978 | 1001albumsin10years

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