Willie Nelson – Stardust (1978)
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
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.
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!