Archive for September, 2007
Bill Johns, recently returned from the war in Iraq,Â has recorded ‘A Peaceful Solution’, the song written by Willie and Amy Nelson.Â You can hear his version here:
You can hear the many other inspiring recordings of this beautiful song, watch the videos made using one of Willie’s recorded versions, or learn how to submit your own at http://willienelsonpri.com/
by Willie Nelson
with Turk Pipkin
“This book is my way of sharing a little of what I’ve learned in seventy-two years of making music and friends on this beautiful planet.Â I don’t know if the things I write here will change your life, but they sure changed mine.
The ways my life has changed seem pretty amazing to me.Â For somewhere along the way, the freckle-faced, dirt-eating kid from Abbott, Texas, ended up being a father, grandfather, and great-grandfather with a family, friends, and work I wouldn’t trade for anything on earth.Â By hook or by crook, I seem to have stumbled onto something all of us search for in this great mystery of life.
Some would call it happiness, but I like to think that what I found is me.Â That sounds simple enough, but the truth is, it took quite a while to do it.Â Among other things, it took me learning that I had to quit trying to be something else.
Trying to be someone else is the hardest road there is.
I thought I’d tell you a little about how I got here, and maybe by getting to know me and a little about the path I’ve taken, you’ll find a path of your own.Â Along the way, you’ll get to know both of us a little better.
That’s what we’re talking about — me and you.
So welcome to The Tao of Willie, my little guide to the happiness in your own heart.Â From the get-go, we need to get one thing straight.Â If you’re looking for a scholarly work about the ancient Eastern philosophy found in the Tao Te Ching, this may not be what you had in mind.
On the other hand, if you don’tÂ know beans about the ancient Chinese philosophy called the Tao, there’s no reason to fret.Â You don’t have to know the Tao for the Tao to know you.
Whatever you think of the Tao, if my thoughts strike that bell of truth in your heart, it will also be ringing in mine.
That’s the way it is between friends.”
1. Follow Me Around
2. Who Do I Know in Dallas
3. December Day
5. Everything But You
6. Some Other Time
7. Will You Remember Mine
8. Go Away
9. I Don’t Feel Anything
10. I’ll Stay Around
11. She’s Not for You
12. What Can You Do to Me Now
13. So Much to Do
15. Undo the Right
16. Slow Down Old World
17. Pride Wins Again
18. I’m Gonna Lose a Lot of Teardrops
19. Is There Something on Your Mind
20. Suffering in Silence
1. Moment Isn’t Very Long
2. One Step Beyond
3. Waiting Time
4. Touch Me
5. Right from Wrong
6. Half a Man
7. Broken Promises
8. I’m Building Heartaches
9. You’ll Always Have Someone
10. I Hope So
11. Things to Remember
12. You Wouldn’t Cross the Street to Say Goodbye
13. Healing Hands of Time
14. Face of a Fighter
15. End of Understanding
16. Blame It on the Times
17. And So Will You Love Me
18. Any Old Arms Won’t Do
19. Home Is Where You’re Happy
20. Let’s Pretend
I found it on ebay: Willie Nelson and Darrell Royal Celebrity Invitational Golf Tournament Ice BucketSunday, September 30th, 2007
Starting bid:Â $99.00
This is an ice bucket from Darrell Royal, coach of Texas Longhorns, and Willie Nelson’s Celebrity Invitational Golf Tournament in 1984.Â Â Â Â This came from the estate of a lady that was in the liquor business and was friends with the event’s promoters.Â Â Ice Bucket is 11″ long and 8″ in diameter, new andÂ unused.Â
Photographs of Willie and Darrell, James Garner, Coach Bum Phillips, of Houston Oilers, Tom T. Hall,Â Charley Pride, and other celebrities.
(Photo by Todd V. Wolfson)
by Michael Corcoran
[If you want to write Mr. Corcoran and thank him for his great interview and article, here’s his e-mail:
She had done whatever it took to raise three sons alone after their father died in an automobile accident in 1961. She demonstrated organs for Hammond, taught at J.R. Reed Music on Congress Avenue and at night played elegant solo piano at local lounges and restaurants.
But what Bobbie Nelson really hungered for, especially after her boys had grown up and moved out by the early 1970s, was to play again with her brother Willie. The pair had forged an undeniable musical bond since she was 6 and Willie was 4 and their grandparents showed them the chords to “The Great Speckled Bird.”
Then one day in early 1973, Bobbie got a call from Willie, summoning her to New York to play piano on his gospel album “The Troublemaker.” Willie had just signed a deal with Atlantic Records that gave him the creative control, including choice of session players, that had been denied him in Nashville.
So at age 42, empty-nester Bobbie Nelson took her very first airplane flight and embarked on a glorious musical journey that is still en route. Willie and “Sister Bobbie,” as she’s known in the extended Nelson family, have been musical partners for an incredible 70 years.
“There’s just no way to explain how lucky I am to have a good musician in the family,” Willie Nelson said last week from the tour bus he shares with his sister. “Whenever I’ve needed a piano player, I’ve had Sister Bobbie right there.”
While Brother Willie has become a major music icon, as instantly recognizable as anyone on the planet, Sister Bobbie has happily remained in the shadow, except for the one spotlight turn â€” usually “Down Yonder” from “Red-Headed Stranger” â€” she gets at each Willie Nelson and the Family concert. “I’ve always been very shy,” said Bobbie. “I sang a little when we were kids, mostly in church. But Willie had such a beautiful voice. I’d always tell him, ‘you sing, Willie, and I’ll play the piano.’ ”
This week, 76-year-old Bobbie stepped out of the background with her first solo album, “Audiobiography,” titled so because it’s the story of her life through the songs she’s played. “I’ve always expressed myself best through music,” she said recently at the Pedernales recording studio owned by her son Freddy Fletcher. “I remember when I got my first piano. I thought, ‘I’ll never be lonely again.’ ”
Not that there weren’t painfully trying times in the devout Christian’s life. She lost two of her three sons, Michael to leukemia and Randy in a car crash, in a six-month period in 1989. “Me and my three boys grew up together, and we had so much fun … and then to lose two of your three babies, well, it’s something you never get over,” Bobbie said. “It taught me to never take life for granted.” Another reminder came in March, when Bobbie underwent heart surgery to insert a pacemaker.
“I’ve never been so happy as this past April 15,” Bobbie said with a smile as radiant as Willie’s. “That’s when I flew to L.A. and joined up with the band. It’s just the most wonderful therapy in the world to play with Willie.” She said that sometimes when she’s away from Willie for more than a couple weeks, she gets a cold and feels worn down.
“Audiobiography” contains 10 piano instrumentals, bookended by a pair of Willie Nelson originals. It’s just Willie and Bobbie on those two new tunes, just like on their tour bus, where Bobbie slides a keyboard from the bottom of an adjoining bunk and Willie pulls out a guitar whenever inspiration hits. Even after two and a half hours on stage, the brother and sister â€” whose ages add to 150 â€” will often play gospel standards or work out new songs on the Honeysuckle Rose IV bus as it hurtles through the deep darkness between gigs.
It will also be just Willie and Bobbie on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” Tuesday and “The Tonight Show” Wednesday, as the younger brother has pledged to promote his sister’s album however he can. “It’s long overdue,” Willie said. “Whenever our band plays, Sister Bobbie is the best musician on the stage.”
Bobbie Lee, born on the first day of 1931, and Willie Hugh, born April 30, 1933, were children of the Depression. Their biological parents were a pair of married teenagers who had recently moved from Arkansas to Abbott, a farming community about 70 miles south of Dallas. But Bobbie and Willie were raised by their paternal grandparents, whom they called Mama and Daddy.
“Daddy Nelson was the sweetest person I’ve ever known,” Bobbie said. “He had the most gorgeous tenor voice.” A proficient player of stringed instruments, Daddy Nelson taught Willie how to play guitar, while Mama Nelson, who lived to be in her 90s, showed Bobbie how to play piano. “It was just so amazing to us that I could play one part and Willie could play another and together we had a song. We’d look at each other and our eyes would light up.”
After Daddy Nelson died when Willie was 7 and Bobbie was 9, the brother and sister took to tunes, both spiritual and secular, to soothe their sorrow. “Playing music made us realize that there was something bigger out there, something more than human life,” she said.
They played together for hours every day, and on Sundays they played and sang at the Abbott Methodist Church (which Willie bought in July 2006 when he heard prospective buyers had planned to move it to another town). Bobbie, who could read music at age 6, also played at other churches in the area. When she was 16, she met 21-year-old ex-GI Bud Fletcher at a revival at Vaughn Methodist Church, near Hillsboro. The couple married a few months later, while Bobbie was a senior at Abbott High. “I’d kiss my husband goodbye every morning then get on the school bus,” she recalled.
Seeing so much talent in his new bride and the brother she called “Hughtie,” Fletcher organized a western swing dance band around them â€” Bud Fletcher and the Texans. A non-musician in the beginning, Fletcher took on the role of emcee, adding a Bob Willsian “Ah-HA” to hot solos, introducing band members and pumping up the crowd. He eventually learned to play bass fiddle and then the drums.
“Bud was one of those outgoing guys who could talk to anyone,” Bobbie said. “And he was a fabulous dancer.”
Bobbie became pregnant with Randy when she was 19; by age 23 she had three sons and was still playing in her husband’s band. But too many nights in a roadhouse were wearing Fletcher down. “Bud was a great person and we loved each other very much, but he was having a rough time,” she said. “That’s why, to this day, I hate alcohol. I’m so glad Willie doesn’t drink anymore.”
The young parents of three small boys also had very little money. In 1955, Bud’s parents went to court to get custody of Randy, Michael and Freddy and won. “Bud’s father was the road commissioner of Hill County and had a lot of influence,” Bobbie said. “They tried to portray me as unfit because I played honky tonk piano. It just broke my heart.”
Bobbie said she had a nervous breakdown after losing her children.
“The Fletchers hated the Nelsons,” said Freddy Fletcher. “They looked down on musicians and blamed my mother for getting my father involved, when in reality it was his idea to start a band.”
After she gave up the nightlife, took bookkeeping courses and got a job with the Hammond organ company in Fort Worth, Bobbie got her sons back after a year with their grandparents. She later divorced Fletcher and remarried, but that union ended in divorce after a few years, as did her third and final marriage in the late 1960s.
While Bobbie’s life revolved around her three sons, Willie had hit the jackpot as a Nashville songwriter. In 1961, three of his compositions were big country hits: “Hello Walls” by Faron Young, “Crazy” by Patsy Cline and “Funny How Time Slips Away” by Billy Walker.
“I was just so proud of him,” Bobbie said. “People got tired of hearing me say ‘my brother Willie wrote that one’ whenever one of his songs came on the radio.”
It was Bobbie, not Willie, who moved to Austin first. She came down from Fort Worth in 1965 to demonstrate a Hammond organ for the El Chico restaurant set to open at the spanking new Hancock Center. Impressed by her interpretations of such standards as “Stardust” and “Laura,” as well as her boogie-woogie and swing numbers, the owners offered Bobbie a job playing nightly. She later opened the Chariot Inn in North Austin and played regularly at the Lakeway Inn.
“When Willie called me (in 1973) to come to New York, I was ready,” Bobbie said. “I was always playing the piano, using music to survive, so I never got rusty.”
Although Willie and producer Arif Mardin had blocked out five days at Atlantic studio, Bobbie would be needed only the first day, when “The Troublemaker” was knocked out in ten hours. The next day, Willie was back with his band to record what would become “Shotgun Willie.” Bobbie had planned to do some shopping and then head home to Austin. “They must’ve missed me,” Bobbie said, “because when I stopped by the studio the next day, Willie asked me to stick around and play the piano some more.” Sister Bobbie has been with the Family ever since.
Willie said there’s an instinctive connection between him and his sister that he doesn’t feel with any other musician. “She knows what I’m going to do even before I do sometimes,” he said with a laugh.
In 1976, Willie bought Bobbie an $85,000 Bosendorfer grand piano like the one she played on “Red Headed Stranger.” But when IRS agents seized Willie’s property in 1990 to help satisfy a $16.7 million tax lien, Bobbie’s piano was among the Pedernales studio contents auctioned off.
Friends of the Nelsons bought the Bosendorfer and gave it back to Bobbie. It’s the piano she plays so exquisitely on “Audiobiography” and all of Willie’s records.
The brother and sister have never had an argument, Bobbie said, even after she was awakened by police in Louisiana in September 2006 and charged, with Willie and three others, with possession of a pound and a half of marijuana and three ounces of psychedelic mushrooms. The prim and proper churchgoer has never used drugs, but since they were found on the bus she was traveling in, Bobbie was cited with the others. “All I knew was that if Willie was going to jail, they’d have to take me to jail, too,” she said. But Willie and company were issued only misdemeanor citations and sent on their way.
In the mid-70s, when “Red Headed Stranger” hit and the parties and groupies got crazy, Bobbie didn’t ride with Willie and the band but flew to gigs and stayed in hotels. But she’s traveled with Willie since 1983 and has learned to tolerate the ever-present illegal perfume.
“I think he smokes (marijuana) too much,” Bobbie said, “but that’s just because I’m worried about his health.” Willie said his sister’s physical well-being is also foremost in his mind. “We were all very concerned (in March), but she has great doctors and they caught the problem early,” he said.
If any two people deserve to live forever, they are Bobbie and Willie Nelson, who have filled the air with beautiful music and helped whomever they could. But one day, one of them will have to go on without the other, a prospect neither Willie nor Bobbie wants to face.
“Every day is so precious,” Bobbie said. “Every time I play with Willie is a gift. We are just so blessed to be still doing what we’re doing after all these years.”
In a small Texas town in the 1930s, a 6-year-old girl and her 4-year-old brother learned the power and magic of making music together. And they’ve been doing it ever since.
Michael Corcoran got a personal tour of Bobbie Nelson’s home-on-the-road on brother Willie’s tour bus, and you can watch it here:
Willie Nelson sings ‘Hello Walls’ with Glen Campbell on the Glen Campbell Goodtimes Show.
Willie and Glen are both performing at the celebration to honor Gene Autry’s 100th Birthday tonight in LA.Â I wonder if they’ll sing Hello Walls again?
That’s a direct quote from George, who got to go to last night’s show at the Hard Rock Cafe in Las Vegas, and sent me these great photos.Â Thanks, George!
An up-to-the-minute report from the Road…just got back to our hotel room from the show.
At the last minute my wife and I decided to head to Las Vegas for tonight’s show at The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel.Â I’ve attached a few photos for the blog.Â Enjoy!
PS.Â It was a great show.Â Willie was on fire!
Longtime Brazos County residents might use words such as “disaster” to describe the last country music festival that was held at Texas World Speedway.
During the Second Annual Willie Nelson Fourth of July Picnic, in 1974, 12 cars caught fire in the speedway’s parking lot, 22 of the estimated 20,000 attendees were taken to the hospital for suspected drug overdoses and there was an announcement over the loudspeaker not to buy any of the hard drugs that were being circulated, according to newspaper accounts.
(this wasÂ taken atÂ the ’73 picnic)
Letters to the editor condemning the event were published for weeks after The Eagle printed pictures of attendees disrobed and smoking what appeared to be marijuana, and the College Station City Council later approved a resolution stating that it “deplores” the picnic and the trouble it caused the community.
The festival, which Nelson once hinted could become an annual event for Brazos County, was never brought back to the area.
For the first time in the three decades since, a new festival is being planned for the location. Like the picnic, the Big State Festival will have on-site camping, will be a two-day event featuring Nelson and other big names in country music, and is expected to bring tens of thousands of fans to the area. (more…)
On September 29, 1993, Willie Nelson was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame.
This is one of the great pictures taken by daughter Lana NelsonÂ postedÂ with otherÂ pictures of Willie Nelson and Family and Friends atÂ www.willienelson.com.Â It’s always a treat to read Lana’s stories about life on the road with the her dad and the band.
I heard that Willie sang “Sioux City Sue” at the concert in Sioux City, and I know there was some fan out in the audience named Sue who was just going crazy, believing he was singing it just for her.Â (sigh).Â I know I’d go crazyÂ if I heard him sing ‘Linda’ in concert, but I’m happy he recorded the song (just for me) and I can listen to it.
Country legends Willie Nelson and David Allan Coe will perform Oct. 21 at the Nacogdoches County Exposition Center.The concert, scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m., is selling out quickly, according to Bill Plunkett, Nacogdoches County Exposition Center manager.
The Associated Press
“We’re even getting inquiries from outside the state,” Plunkett said.Â
There were 500 VIP seats that went on sale for $40, but those tickets sold out the first day, he said.
“The last time we had Willie Nelson here, he was at the coliseum four years ago,” Plunkett said.
Several entertainers have come to the Expo Center throughout the years, but having a country music talent of this caliber, Plunkett said, is a real honor.
Nelson was handed his first guitar at the age of 6, and within a short time he was writing country songs and playing in polka bands. He began playing at high school dances and honky-tonks as a teenager and had become a local DJ with his own radio show by the time he graduated. While Nelson got by with menial jobs, such as a janitor and a door-to-door Bible salesman, he eventually sold his first song, “No Place For Me,” which was only the beginning of a long road of success. Nelson has released several albums throughout his career, among them “Shotgun Willie,” “Red Headed Stranger” and an album called “Nacogdoches” in 2004.
From the age of 9, Coe was in and out of reform schools, correction centers and prisons, according to the official Web site of David Allen Coe. He was paroled in 1967 and took his songs about prison life to Shelby Singleton, who released two albums on his SSS label. Coe wrote Tanya Tucker’s 1974 U.S. country No. 1, “Would You Lay With Me.” He took to calling himself Davey Coe â€” the Mysterious Rhinestone Cowboy â€” performing in a mask and driving a hearse. He satirized the themes of country music with hilarious additions to Steve Goodman’s “You Never Even Called Me By My Name,” but has often used the clichÃ©s himself. Coe has also turned out several albums during his career, including “Live at the Iron Horse Saloon” and “Original Outlaw.”
“We’re looking forward to having them here and having a good time,” Plunkett said. “We just want people to come out and enjoy themselves.”
For additional information, or information on future events, visit nacexpo.net.