Just One Love

Willie Nelson

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Just One Love Review

by Martin Monkman

Willie Nelson's Just One Love is, for the most part, a collection of country standards. There are hard songs by the likes of Hank Williams (a wonderful "Cold Cold Heart"), Floyd Tillman (represented by both "Each Night at Nine" and the timeless "This Cold Cold War With You"), and Fred Rose ("It's a Sin"). There's also the old-timey "Alabam" and "Bonaparte's Retreat." The arrangements are straight country, with most of Nelson's regular band on hand. Standout soloists include Bobbie Nelson on piano and Buddy Emmons on steel guitar, and, of course, Willie Nelson's own nylon-string guitar. While most of the album is given over to old country tunes, two tracks were written by Texas songwriter Kimmie Rhodes. Both are performed as duets with Rhodes, and are arguably the best performances on the record. The title track is a tender love song, while "I Just Drove By" is an exercise in nostalgia. The album closes with Grandpa Jones' rollicking "Eight More Miles to Louisville," featuring the ragged vocals and banjo of Jones himself. This is one duet where Nelson's laid-back delivery seems entirely wrong; Jones is just too hyperkinetic. It's no masterpiece, but Just One Love is a solid country record. Unfortunately, Nelson's prolific nature ensures that solid albums like this get overlooked in the big picture, but for his fans and for those of good country music in general, it is well worth investigating.

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