Willie Nelson, “My Way”

My Way Tracklist

  1. Fly Me To The Moon
  2. Summer Wind
  3. One For My Baby (And One More For The Road)
  4. A Foggy Day
  5. It Was A Very Good Year
  6. Blue Moon
  7. I’ll Be Around
  8. Night And Day
  9. What Is This Thing Called Love (with Norah Jones)
  10. Young At Heart
  11. My Way

Since 1978, when he released the multiplatinum Stardust , his first collection of Great American Songbook standards, Willie Nelson has occasionally returned to that well of song material. He obviously has a great affection for this material and long ago found a way to adapt these classics to his unmistakable vocal style.

My Way tweaks the formula just a bit: These 11 selections were all recorded by Frank Sinatra, a friend of Nelson’s and, to no one’s surprise, Willie nails each and every one. Several of the chosen tracks are no-brainers: “Young at Heart,” “Night and Day” and “Fly Me to the Moon” are all so closely associated with Sinatra that it’s almost sacrilegious to hand them over to another singer. But like another pal of Willie’s, Bob Dylan, Nelson isn’t looking to emulate the Chairman, but rather to honor him.

A pair of compositions, “Summer Wind” and “It Was a Very Good Year,” were mid-‘60s hits for Sinatra during his Reprise Records era, and Nelson brings to them a depth of understanding and empathy. Other tunes—among them Mercer and Arlen’s “One for My Baby (And One for the Road)” and the Rodgers and Hart chestnut “Blue Moon”—are handled playfully but respectfully, while the Gershwins-penned “A Foggy Day” and Cole Porter’s “What Is This Thing Called Love” are naturals coming from this voice, almost as if he’s owned them all along.

As for the title track, it’s best sung by someone who truly has lived a lot of life.  This man has, and his tender but assured arrangement confirms that he could never do anything anyone else’s way. It’s a sheer delight.

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