Willie Nelson & Sister Bobbie

December Day: Willie's Stash, Vol. 1 (Sony Legacy)

Texas Platters

In his liner notes for this vault cull from Austin's most iconic musician, longtime Willie Nelson harp cat Mickey Raphael observes that much travel time aboard the Honeysuckle Rose involves the boss and his sister jamming. "Why not record our favorite songs like we play them for ourselves?" wondered pianist Bobbie. Family Band members pop in here and there, mainly Raphael and his idiosyncratic honk. The late Bee Spears makes a ghostly appearance on Irving Berlin's "What'll I Do," but mostly this is the unadorned sound of Willie and Bobbie essaying surprises from the Great American Songbook ("Alexander's Ragtime Band"). There's also a brace of Willie classics like "Sad Songs and Waltzes" stripped to their bones. Those bones are all that's needed for a potent pinch from Willie's Stash.

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