Willie Nelson

The Complete Ghost

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The three-disc box set called The Complete Ghost assembles stray recordings -- some fairly well known, others not -- from Willie Nelson's career before his tenure with Columbia. There have been many compilations of the material found on this set, but few of them came close to being chosen on the merit of the songs themselves. Series producers Pat Thomas and Russ Tolman unearthed nuggets, laid out a few familiar faces, and even place some tunes here that were resurrected and re-recorded later in Nelson's career. The chronology isn't strict, but volume one assembles mostly material form the late '50s and early '60s, the second is comprised entirely of recordings from the '60s, and volume three contains tracks from the late '60s and early '70s, just before the Red Headed Stranger set Nelson off into superstardom. The sound quality varies quite a bit, from merely adequate to quite good. To be truthful, some of the cuts on the first disc are downright dodgy sound-wise. Nonetheless, for the money these are pretty solid artifacts for the more serious Nelson collector, though hardly for the uninitiated. Each of these volumes is also sold separately.

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