Willie Nelson

A&E Biography

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Released to coincide with the cable television documentary of the same name, A&E Biography provides a quick, entertaining summary of Willie Nelson's career, beginning with his Liberty recordings and touching briefly on every major development of his career, from the Outlaws to the Highwaymen. Since Nelson's career is filled with terrific music -- not only hits, but concept albums and terrific songs tucked away on the second side of a record -- it shouldn't come as a surprise that this collection is hardly definitive and at times even a bit scattershot. Nevertheless, there's not a bad cut among these 14 songs, which balance the familiar ("Hello Walls," "Crazy," "Funny How Time Slips Away," "My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys," "Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain") with a healthy selection of album tracks, forgotten favorites, and live tracks, including the Waylon Jennings duet "Good Hearted Woman." There's not really anything here that would entice collectors and there may be a bit too much unfamiliar material for some casual fans, but it's still a thoroughly enjoyable listen that would nicely serve anyone whose curiosity was sparked by this episode of Biography.

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