Willie Nelson

Naked Willie (RCA / Legacy)

Texas Platters

Willie Nelson

Naked Willie (RCA/Legacy)

With the near-constant stream of Willie Nelson releases, it's difficult to justify Naked Willie, a pet experiment by the man's harmonica virtuoso Mickey Raphael, who stripped away the countrypolitan polish from Nelson's 1960s RCA output. Unfortunately, though perhaps admirable in theory, the revisionism is as unaffecting as it is unnecessary. The songs still feel intended for a more lush production style, so tracks such as "The Party's Over," "Layin' My Burdens Down," and roaring "Sunday Morning Coming Down" actually seem incongruous with the somewhat peeled back arrangements. The only exceptions among the 17 tracks are the haunted "Jimmy's Road" and stunningly poignant "What Can You Do to Me Now?" – both of which benefit from Nelson's vocals pushed to the fore. While the strings and saccharine backup vocals aren't missed on the new versions, the project defers to where its subject eventually went at the expense of how he got there.


A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Willie Nelson
Leon Russell & the Bob Dylan Rumor
Leon Russell & the Bob Dylan Rumor
Outlaw era deejay Woody Roberts helped produce Willie Nelson's first Fourth of July picnic in this excerpt from his new memoir Horse Racing & Rock 'N' Roll

Woody Roberts, Dec. 25, 2020

An Excerpt From Willie Nelson and Sister Bobbie's New Book
An Excerpt From Willie Nelson and Sister Bobbie's New Book
A new family bible Me and Sister Bobbie finds the Nelson siblings moving to Austin and making Shotgun Willie.

Nov. 13, 2020

More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
Kinky Friedman
Resurrection (Record Review)

Rick Weaver, Jan. 3, 2020

Texas Platters
The Beaumonts / Hickoids
This Is Austin, All the World's a Dressing Room (Record Review)

Kevin Curtin, Jan. 3, 2020

More by Doug Freeman
Robert Earl Keen Takes a Final <I>ACL</I> Bow
Robert Earl Keen Takes a Final ACL Bow
Texas songwriting staple signs off with seventh taping

April 28, 2022

What We're Listening to Right Now
What We're Listening to Right Now
Sir Woman, whookilledkenny, Buffalo Hunt, Aaron McDonnell, Startographers, and more local sounds

April 29, 2022


Willie Nelson

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Behind the scenes at The Austin Chronicle

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle