Rick Nelson

For You: The Decca Years

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The seven years covered on Bear Family's six-disc box set For You: The Decca Years were a transitional time for Rick Nelson. He started as one of the top pop idols in the country then faded, as all old rock & rollers did, during the British Invasion and during that exile, he turned to country, first cutting commercial country-pop then starting to develop his own brand of country-rock. It was a journey, and it's pretty enthralling as documented on this box set. As Nelson's vaults have been pretty heavily mined already, there is almost nothing in the way of unreleased recordings here (there are rarities, but very little that has been unheard), so the primary appeal of this Bear Family box is that it documents that journey so accurately that it feels like a journey as it's playing. Of course, Todd Everett's excellent, well-researched accompanying essay in the hardcover book helps illuminate that journey, but Nelson's evolution is so evident that no notes are needed to appreciate his progression. As the set begins, Nelson still regularly appeared on the top of the Billboard charts: "Fools Rush In" hit 12 in 1963 and "It's Up to You" went to six that same year, the following year "For You" went to six, and there were several other smaller singles during this time. Rick didn't drop off the charts until 1965 when "Mean Old World" barely scraped the Top 100 at 96. His downward turn in fortune reflected the uneven nature of his recordings at the time, as his LPs started to get bogged down with treacly pop that wasn't distinctive, no matter how well he sang it. He was beginning to outgrow the teen-oriented material that still popped up on his LPs until 1965, but those same records showed his growing interest in country music, something that grew into a full-blown obsession just around the time that he slipped off the pop charts. Once he was off the radar he started to deeply dig into country music and this set helps illustrate that this was a deep passion, as the progression seems more natural when presented in session order instead of a set of LPs. Similarly, in this context his embrace of Bob Dylan, Tim Hardin, and Randy Newman -- along with Paul Simon and Harry Nilsson -- on Another Side of Rick and Perspective LPs seems as much an outgrowth of Nelson's fascination with songwriters and interpretations as it does an attempt to stay current, and they wind up being the necessary bridge to the full flowering of country-rock heard at the end of this set, both in studio sessions and in the glorious live album Rick Nelson in Concert which concludes this set. The music at the end of For You is so assured and natural that it's evident that all the trial and error of the previous seven years were necessary -- he had to go through it to get to it, and by listening to these Decca years in bulk, it's easier to appreciate the hard work and exploration of this continually undervalued rock & roller.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1
2:01
2
2:23
3 2:05
4 1:56
5 2:41
6
2:13
7 2:31
8 2:24
9 1:59
10 2:05
11 2:08
12 2:21
13 1:59
14 2:09
15 2:07
16 2:42
17
2:16
18 2:33
19 2:33
20 2:08
21 2:11
22
2:16
23
2:16
24 2:07
25 2:08
26 2:13
27 2:27
28 2:17
29 1:56

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 3:54
2
2:57
3 2:07
4 2:11
5 2:47
6 2:37
7
3:02
8 2:03
9 2:01
10 2:03
11 2:04
12
2:36
13 2:14
14
2:24
15 2:05
16 2:03
17 2:09
18 2:19
19
2:26
20
2:41
21 1:56
22 2:09
23 2:59
24 2:01
25
2:18
26 2:23
27 2:19
28 2:34
29 2:24
30 1:48
31
0:56
32
0:58
33
0:30
34
0:33
35
0:20
36
0:19

Track Listing - Disc 3

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:04
2 1:59
3 2:18
4 3:02
5 2:23
6 2:05
7 2:48
8 2:18
9 2:41
10
2:07
11 2:22
12
1:59
13 2:02
14 2:45
15 2:20
16 1:58
17 1:54
18 2:41
19 2:18
20 2:33
21 3:06
22 3:00
23 2:04
24 2:20
25 2:21
26 2:15
27 2:28
28 2:20
29 2:24
30
2:27
31 2:11
32 2:11

Track Listing - Disc 5

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 3:43
2 2:15
3 2:17
4 2:39
5 2:33
6 2:49
7 1:38
8 2:48
9
2:38
10 2:35
11 2:05
12 2:19
13 2:12
14 3:19
15 2:19
16 3:59
17 2:16
18 2:44
19 2:31
20 2:50
21
feat: Kris Nelson
3:03
22 3:00
23 2:14
24 3:04
25 3:02
26 2:35
27 3:12
28 2:29
29 2:38
blue highlight denotes track pick