Archive for the ‘Duets and collaborations’ Category

Monday, June 18th, 2018

Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard, “Yesterday”

Monday, June 18th, 2018

www.RollingStone.com

With approximately 1,200 covers of it to date, Paul McCartney’s “Yesterday” was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1997 and voted Best Song of the Century in a BBC Two radio poll in 1999. In 2011, it placed at Number Thirteen on Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard, “Django and Jimmie” (Rolling Stone Interview June 2015)

Friday, June 15th, 2018

blackhats

www.RollingStone.com
by:  Patrick Doyle

“Hello, I know you!” Merle Haggard says as he emerges from the bedroom of his tour bus. He’s talking to Willie Nelson, who’s sitting in the bus’s cramped front quarters. Standing nearby, Nelson’s wife, Annie, asks the pair if they’ll sign a couple of acoustic guitars for a charity run by Matthew McConaughey, a friend of the family. “Absolutely not,” Haggard says with a smile. Later, when Annie takes a photo of the two signing the guitars, Nelson grins and gives the camera the finger.

It’s a perfect Saturday night in South Texas, where Haggard, 78, and Nelson, 82, are playing the last of three sold-out shows together at New Braunfels’ Whitewater Amphitheater. Haggard is about to play a set, during which Nelson will join him on “Okie From Muskogee,” “Pancho and Lefty” and a handful of other songs. Backstage, Nelson family members catch up; his rail-thin 90-year-old roadie Ben Dorcy (who was once John Wayne’s assistant) ambles around, smoking a pipe. Directly behind the stage, locals ride down the Guadalupe River in inner tubes, stopping on the bank to listen to the show. “We’ll get somebody out there to sell them tickets,” Nelson jokes.

Sitting side by side on the bus, Nelson and Haggard look like they could be a grizzled Mount Rushmore of country music. “It’s a mutual-admiration society with us,” says Nelson. “Merle’s one of the best. There’s not anyone out there that can beat him. Maybe Kris Kristofferson. But then you start running out of names.”

Haggard and Nelson are about to release a new LP, Django and Jimmie. (The title is a tribute to Nelson’s and Haggard’s respective heroes, Django Reinhardt and Jimmie Rodgers.)

One of the best songs is “Missing Ol’ Johnny Cash,” an ode to their late friend and a meditation on mortality. “There’s a thousand good stories about John,” says Nelson. Haggard tells one, about the time Cash thought it would be hilarious to dynamite a broken-down car he encountered on the side of the road. “He hooks it all up, hits the plunger and blows it up. And he said, ‘Now, when that guy goes to tell his old lady his car blew up, he won’t be lying!’?” Nelson cackles, adding, “John used to say, ‘I always get my best thinking done when June is talking.’?”

“I didn’t know anything about marijuana,” Haggard says. “It’s fantastic.”

Nelson and Haggard met at a poker game at Nelson’s Nashville house in 1964, when both were struggling songwriters. (Neither would have major success until they left Nashville behind; Nelson for Austin, Haggard for Bakersfield, California.) They didn’t become close until the late Seventies, when they were playing casinos in Reno. “We’d play a couple of long shows a day, then spend all night long jamming,” says Haggard.

In 1982, they recorded Pancho & Lefty together at Nelson’s ranch near Austin, where they’d stay awake for days — “We were living pretty hard in that time period,” Nelson has said — playing golf and then recording all night (Haggard barely remembers singing his famous verse on “Pancho and Lefty”). At the time, they were fasting on a master-cleanse regimen of cayenne pepper and lemon juice. “I think Willie went 10 days,” says Haggard. “I went seven.”

“I still ain’t got over it,” says Nelson. “Still hungry.” Adds Haggard, “You’re still high!”

These days, they share a love of conspiracy theories (both are devoted fans of paranormal-obsessed radio host Art Bell) and making music with their children (Haggard’s son Ben plays guitar in his band; Nelson’s sons Lukas and Micah frequently join their father onstage). “It’s as good as it gets, to have your kids up there playing,” says Nelson. “And they’re good!”

On the new album, the two cover Bob Dylan’s “Don’t Think Twice (It’s Alright).” The track was recorded before Dylan criticized Haggard and other artists in a widely publicized MusicCares speech in February: “Merle Haggard didn’t think much of my songs, but Buck Owens did,” Dylan said. “Buck Owens and Merle Haggard? If you have to have somebody’s blessing — you figure it out.” Dylan later apologized.

Haggard (who toured with Dylan in 2005) thinks Dylan was talking about the Merle Haggard of the Sixties — the guy who took shots at hippies, weed and premarital sex in 1969’s “Okie From Muskogee.”

“I didn’t misunderstand Bob,” says Haggard. “I know what he meant. He figured I was lumping him in with hippies [in the Sixties]. The lack of respect for the American military hurt my feelings at the time. But I never lumped Bob Dylan in with the hippies. What made him great was the fact that every body liked him. And I’ll tell you one thing, the goddamn hippies have got no exclusive on Bob Dylan!” He pauses. “Bob likes to box — I’d like to get in the ring with his ass, and give him somebody to hit.”

In fact, these days Merle Haggard is far more liberal than the man in his classic songs. For one thing, he loves pot. “I didn’t know anything about marijuana back then,” he says. “It’s one of the most fantastic things in the world.” Did he and Nelson smoke in the studio? “Are you kidding me?” Haggard says with a laugh.

Soon, the conversation devolves to jokes. “You know what you call a guitar player without a girlfriend?” Nelson asks. “Homeless.”

Next, they talk current events, Nelson explaining the “Blurred Lines” lawsuit to Haggard. (“They stole more than they were supposed to,” he says. Haggard nods.) Asked if either has any thoughts about communicating with fans through social media, they shake their heads. “Just so long as somebody else can do it,” says Nelson. “That’s why I didn’t learn to play steel guitar.”

“What was that little girl that played steel in Asleep at the Wheel?” says Haggard. “Cindy Cashdollar. Everybody was trying to look up her dress.”

“Oh, I wouldn’t do that,” deadpans Nelson. “I think I had the wrong angle.”

By now, Haggard is supposed to be onstage; his son has been extending his three-song warm-up set for several minutes, telling the crowd his father will be out soon. These co-headline dates sold so well that Nelson says there will be more: “In fact, I was talking to some folks today — I was gonna see what they thought of making us do a tour of it when it comes out.”

He turns to Haggard. “We ought to do whatever we can get — as many days as we need to,” Nelson says with a smile. “Because I know it’s a good record. I think it might sell a couple.”

This day in Willie Nelson History: “Whiskey for My Men (beer for my horses)” #1 on Billboard Country Chart (6/14/03)

Thursday, June 14th, 2018

Country Weekly
October 14, 2003
by Chris Neal

Like a lot of great country music tales, this one begins with whiskey. Willie Nelson and Toby Keith were on Willie’s bus, passing the bottle back and forth — to be precise, a bottle of Willie’s own signature brand, Old Whiskey River. They were having fun, but Toby had a serious question for his hero.

“I’ve got a project I’d love to talk to you about,” he offered. “It’s singing the second verse on a song that I think fits you like a glove.”

“What’s the name of it?” asked Willie. “Whiskey for My Men; Beer for My Horses,” replied Toby.

“Hell, let’s go cut it!” Willie exclaimed with a laugh. “It’d be hard to have a bad song with a title that good.”

Many months later, Willie’s judgment turned out to be right on. “Beer for My Horses” shot to No. 1 and stayed there for six weeks.

“Johnny Cash said one time that all that’s wrong with any of us can be cured with a No. 1 song,” said Willie. “And I think he was about right. I’m almost cured of everything.”

The ride actually began many years ago, way back in mid-Sept. 1976. Toby, then 15, made his way backstage when Willie was appearing in concert at the Lloyd Noble Center in Norman, Okla., as part of an “Outlaws” tour with Waylon Jennings, Jessi Colter and Tompall Glaser.

At the time, Toby already idolized Willie, who was then riding high with the No. 1 Waylon duet “Good Hearted Woman” – a song Toby himself would sing with Willie months after Waylon’s death in 2002.

Toby still remembers meeting Willie that night, 27 years ago. “He was his usual polite self,” he smiles. “Willie is a real sweetheart. He takes care of everybody and wants everybody to have a piece of him.”

By the time they met again in the ‘90’s, Toby had followed in Willie’s footsteps to become a star himself. It happened that Toby’s guitarist, Joey Floyd, had played the part of Willie’s son in the 1980 movie Honeysuckle Rose, and still kept in touch. Joey made the introductions — and Toby and Willie’s friendship was off and running.

“I’d already heard his music before I met him,” recalls Willie. “I think he’s a great talent. He’s one of those guys coming along — well, I don’t know how young he is. Younger than me for damn sure.” (Toby is 42.)

“Probably the thing that ties us together most is the music,” says Toby. “But he’s got a great sense of humor, and so do I. We call each other all the time and tell our latest jokes, and we really have a good time when we’re hanging out.”

Perhaps the most notorious occasion the two spent “hanging out” was during this year’s ACM Awards. Tongues wagged after Toby was named entertainer of the Year at the evening’s end, but wasn’t around to accept it because he’d already left.

Where was he?

“I was up in my room, at the same hotel where the show was going on,” explains Willie. “I was watching it on TV. Next thing you know, there’s a knock on my door and there’s Toby. He said, “Hell, I ain’t gonna win.” I said, ‘OK, come in here and we’ll write a song or something.” So we got the whiskey bottle going around — again — and we were having some fun.”

“You can tell when it’s your night,” explains Toby, “And it didn’t feel like it was my night.”

So Toby figured that spending time with his friend and idol sounded better than waiting around to not win an award.

“That’s important to me, getting a chance to enjoy some of the stuff I grew up wanting to do,” he says. “But I did feel real bad when they said my name and “Entertainer of the Year.”

There’s always the upcoming CMAs, where “Beer for My Horses” is nominated for Single, Song, Vocal Event — and Music Video of the Year, for it’s imaginative clip featuring Willie and Toby as father and son police detectives chasing a killer.

The two are lining up tour dates together, including a New Year’s Eve show. Willie is currently making a new album with Toby’s producer, which will include at least one song Toby wrote. And both men say they’re reading and willing to duet again.

“I’ve had a lot of fun singing with Toby,” declares Willie. “He’s one of us.”

But one question remains: Do horses really like beer?

“Good God yeah” says Willie. “It’s got wheat, barley, corn — why wouldn’t a horse like it? It’s horse soup.”

“Beer for My Horses”, with Toby Keith, Willie Nelson, streamed on Hulu

Sunday, June 10th, 2018

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“Beer for My Horses”, movie based on song written by Toby Keith and Scott Emmerick, and featuring Willie Nelson, will be added to Hulu streaming service this summer, this month, I think.  I think the video was as good as the movie, but the movie is fun to watch, too. Willie usually sings the song in concert, both parts. When Toby Keith performed the song at his concerts, he would show a video of Willie Nelson singing his part on a movie screen behind him.

Enjoy the video

Willie Nelson and Kurt Nilsen, “Lost Highway”

Saturday, June 2nd, 2018

At Langesund, Norway. June 2010.

Willie Nelson presented with award, in honor of Kur;s as Kurt’s album, which featured a duet with Willie had sold 90,000 copies in Norway.

Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash, “Family Bible”

Monday, May 28th, 2018

This day in Willie Nelson History: USO Show in Germany with Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey (May 23, 2005)

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2018

In 2005 Willie Nelson joined Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey on a USO tour to entertain the troops overseas at the Ramstein Airbase in Germany. The show was filmed, and broadcast on television as “Nick and Jessica’s Tour of Duty.” Also on the tour: Big and Rich, and talk show host Jimmy Kimmel. Willie and Jessica treated the crowd to a duet from movie ‘The Dukes of Hazzard’, the movie they starred in together, ‘These Boots are Made for Walking.”

Jimmey Kimmel talked about Willie at the show, and said, “I got to meet Willie Nelson. He’s such a nice guy, he even let me carry his bags through customs for him.!”

Willie Nelson and Sister Bobbie, “December Day”

Wednesday, May 16th, 2018

bobbiewill

Willie Nelson and Sister Bobbie
December Day
(Willie’s Stash, Vol. 1)

1. Alexander’s Ragtime Band (Irving Berlin)
2. Permanently Lonely (Willie Nelson)
3. What’ll I Do (Irving Berlin)
4. Summer of Roses / December Day (Willie Nelson)
5. Nuages (Django Reinhardt)
6. Mona Lisa (Ray Evans & Jay Livingston)
7. I Don’t Know Where I Am Today (Willie Nelson)
8. Amnesia (Willie Nelson)
9. Who’ll Buy My Memories (Willie Nelson)
10. The Anniversary Song (Al Jolson & Saul Chaplin)
11. Laws of Nature (Willie Nelson)
12. Walkin’ (Willie Nelson)
13. Always (Irving Berlin)
14. I Let My Mind Wander (Willie Nelson)
15. Is the Better Part Over (Willie Nelson)
16. My Own Peculiar Way (Willie Nelson)
17. Sad Songs and Waltzes (Willie Nelson)

Willie Nelson and Dyan Cannon, “Loving You Was Easier Than Anything I’ll Ever Do Again”

Saturday, May 12th, 2018

Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson, “Loving Her Was Easier”

Monday, May 7th, 2018

Willie Nelson and Leon Russell, “One For The Road”

Friday, May 4th, 2018

Willie Nelson and Johnny Lee

Friday, April 27th, 2018

Record

 

 

This day in Willie Nelson history, Farm Aid IV (April 24, 1993)

Tuesday, April 24th, 2018

Farm Aid VI
April 24, 1993 – Ames, Iowa

All of America watched as the Flood of ’93 left thousands of Midwest families homeless. Heavy rains caused the Mississippi and Missouri rivers to rise up and overflow their banks, swallowing entire towns along the way. Eight million acres of crops were destroyed and 20 million acres were damaged. With their backs already against the wall due to heavy debt and low farm prices, Midwest family farmers had few resources left to deal with the effects of the flooding. In response to the flood, Farm Aid created the Family Farm Disaster Fund to support organizations that worked directly with farm families stricken by the flood. When farmers needed help to avoid foreclosure due to losses from the flood, Farm Aid-funded groups were there to help them save their farms. Farm Aid VI, held in Ames, Iowa on April 24, featured performances by Bruce Hornsby, Bryan Adams, Ringo Starr, Marty Stuart, Martina McBride, the Highwaymen, and Dwight Yoakam.

Paul Anka and Willie Nelson, “Crazy”

Monday, April 23rd, 2018

www.PaulAnka.com

2013

In his 55th year as a performer, Paul Anka is a national treasure writing all his own hits which include “Diana,” “You Are My Destiny,” “Lonely Boy,” “Put Your Head On My Shoulder,” “Puppy Love”, and taking control of his business career (producing, buying and owning his master recordings, a practice he still employs today). Anka wrote the all-time classic “My Way” (recorded by everyone from Sinatra to Sid Vicious), and co-wrote Michael Jackson’s posthumous single, “This Is It.” Anka also penned “She’s A Lady” for Tom Jones and the instrumental theme song for The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson. He is among Billboard magazine’s Top 25 most successful recording artists, putting him alongside Elvis Presley and the Beatles.

Duets presents collaborations with a ‘Who’s Who’ of entertainment royalty, including brand new vocal recordings with Michael Bublé (“Pennies From Heaven”) and Leon Russell (“I Really Miss You”).  Other duet partners include “Do I Love You (Yes, In Every Way)” with Dolly Parton, “This Is It” with Michael Jackson, “Think I’m In Love Again” with Gloria Estefan, “Crazy” with Willie Nelson, “You Are My Destiny” with Patti LaBelle, “Les Filles de Paris” with jazz trumpeter Chris Botti, “It’s Hard To Say Goodbye” with Celine Dion, “She’s A Lady” with Tom Jones, “Hold Me ‘Til The Morning Comes” with Peter Cetera, and “My Way” with Frank Sinatra.

As Anka addresses the listener in his liner notes: “I am proud of what you are about to hear, and I am grateful to those of you out there who continue to show an interest in every body of work that I create. I have always said that success has many fathers and I thank everyone who has made this venture possible; it is always a team effort.”

Duets by Paul Anka

1. Walk A Fine Line – with George Benson and Michael McDonald (B)
2. Find My Way Back To Your Heart – sung by Paul Anka, background vocal by Tita Hutchison (A)
3. Do I Love You (Yes, In Every Way) – with Dolly Parton (B)
4. This Is It – with Michael Jackson (B)
5. I Really Miss You – with Leon Russell (A)
6. Think I’m In Love Again – with Gloria Estefan (B)
7. Pennies From Heaven – with Michael Bublé (A)
8. Crazy – with Willie Nelson (B)
9. You Are My Destiny – with Patti LaBelle (C)
10. Les Filles de Paris – with Chris Botti (B)
11. It’s Hard To Say Goodbye – with Celine Dion (C)
12. She’s A Lady – with Tom Jones (C)
13. Hold Me ‘Til the Morning Comes – with Peter Cetera (C)
14. My Way – with Frank Sinatra (B)