Willie Nelson bares his down-home soul on Revolutions of Time box


By Steve Newton

I’ve gotta admit that I’m not a real huge country-music fan. I actually view what’s known as “new country”—that lightweight, vacuous, fabricated piffle churned out by the Nashville music mill these days—with the same jaundiced eye reserved for lowly “gangsta rap”.

But there’s something about the old storyteller country guys—craggy-faced veterans such as Johnny Cash, Stompin’ Tom Connors, and Willie Nelson—that draws me in. They sing with so much character and their lyrics seem so goldarn real that I can’t help but be attracted to upright numbers like “I Walk the Line”, “Sudbury Saturday Night”, and “On the Road Again”.

Willie Nelson is one of country’s best at baring his down-home soul and letting it all hang out. What you see is what you get, and you won’t find any fancy surprises on this old hippie’s three-CD boxed set; there isn’t one previously unreleased track among the 60 tunes chronicling his career from 1975 to ’93. You wanted Willie’s hits and you got ’em, plain as that.

But Nelson doesn’t hog the spotlight on Revolutions of Time. He made sure there’s one disc composed entirely of duets, so fans of Leon Russell, Ray Charles, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Waylon Jennings, Hank Snow, George Jones, Kris Kristofferson, Lacy J. Dalton, Mel Tillis, Merle Haggard—and even (gulp) Julio Iglesias—can get their jollies too.

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