Willie Nelson, ‘The Sound in Your Mind’ (review)

The Sound in Your Mind
Willie Nelson
Lone Star/Columbia
Review by Roy Stamps
(May 1976, Texas Music)

Don’t let that term cover fool you!  Once you manage to look pst the jacket of Willie Nelson’s initial album for his Lone Star Records, You’ll find “The SOund of Your Mind” to be a sold effort.

Someone once said of Willie, “His unique singing syle adds brilliantly to a song, regardless of who wrote it, and once he has usng a song, it becomes his.”  Of the eleven songs on this new release, Willie wrote six, and only one is new.  However, the resatility of Mr. Nelson is reflected so well in those he didn’t write, one should experience them first, before moving on to the other cuts on the album.

On side One, Willie pulls the old standard, “That Lucky Old Sun” out of his hat, and chances are that Frankie Lane will claim laryngitis or berriberri before he sings the song again.  Nelson’s interpretation of this standard goes far beyond the simple words to the point that you know just what that laborer who sweats for his daly bread must feel when he looks up at that Sun.

Next, Willie dives into the Lefty Frizzell song book for “If You’ve Got the Money, I’ve Got the TIme”, and he does it feet first.  it’s a boggie bear that features Sister Bobbie on ragtime piano and some of the best pickin’ from Nelson and group since “Bloody Mary Morning”.

The final cut on this side is a funky ditty written by Steve Fromholz called, “I’d Have to Be Crazy.”  Fromholz joins in to sing, not with, but to Willie.  It’s one of those songs you’d swear Willii wrote, because it fits him to a “T”, and perhaps he would have, or should have, but didn’t.  Now that he has recorded it, Fromholz will never be able to do it himself, which is sad, but that’s what Steve gets for hanging out with Willie.

Side tow opens with “Amazing Grace,” and the Leader is joined by The Geesenslaws, C.J. and David Allen Coe plus Jody Payne to create a Salvation Army Choir effect that is so reminiscent of Willie concerts when he is joined on stage by the numerous guest artists that always seem to be in th wings.  Willie’s feel for, and his background of religious music comes through.  It’s a classic.

“The Sound in Your Mind” is a typical Willie Nelson riddle song that tells us that out mind sometimes conjures up things which are worse than the actual fact.  The balance of the album is made up of Nelson standards that he has recorded before, but never in the way he felt they should be done.  In these, you’ll hear Willie as some of us have been privileged to hear him in the past, sitting on the floor of some motel room, pickin’ and singing the songs as he feels them, not the way that some producer in Nashville things.  Songs like “Funny How Time Sips Away,” “Crazy,” “Night Life” and “The Healing Hands of Time” are pure Nelson.  Discount any recording you might have of Willie doing these songs, he has never sung them better than on this album.

Give no credit to perhaps the worst album cover ever.  It only goes to prove it’s what inside that counts …. and count this album as a winner!

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