Countryman Willie Nelson
CD Review by Mike D'Ariano /

Track listing:
1. Do You Mind Too Much If I Don't Understand 2. How Long Is Forever
3. I'm A Worried Man (featuring Toots Hibbert) 4. The Harder They Come
5. Something To Think About 6. Sitting In Limbo 7. Darkness On The Face Of The Earth
8. One In A Row 9. I've Just Destroyed The World 10. You Left A Long, Long Time Ago
11. I Guess I've Come To Live Here 12. Undo The Right

Label: Lost Highway / Release date: 7/12/05

Here's something to think about . . . it was ten years ago when Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash were taping their VH1 Storytellers episode, and Willie announced that he had a reggae album coming out soon. Johnny laughed, the audience laughed, and I laughed too. It was a joke right? It had to be, and nine years later, it still seemed that way. It doesn't anymore.

Countryman, is in fact Willie's long-awaited reggae album, and it's in stores now. Not only is it out, but there are two versions of it. One version features a large marijuana leaf on the cover and the other shows a more nondescript tree. From what I understand, the music is the same on both versions, but Wal-Mart or some other evil bastard corporation objected to the cover. Hey what can you do . . . kids are easily influenced by their heroes, and we all know how much today's youth love Willie Nelson.

Putting my ridiculous censorship banter aside, lets get to the big question. What exactly does a Willie Nelson reggae album sound like? Well to be honest, it sounds more or less like a Willie Nelson album with a little of that 1-2 1-2 reggae backbeat mixed in. Willie and Trigger (that's his guitar) sound like Willie and Trigger, and it's pretty hard for them to not sound great . . . in fact I don't think I ever have heard them not sound great.

The song selection is fifty-fifty. There are tunes you've heard Willie do before in different arrangements like "Darkness on the Face of the Earth" and "I've Just Destroyed the World", and there are traditional reggae tunes, like Jimmy Cliff's "The Harder They Come" and "Sitting In Limbo." Then there's "Worried Man" which is a little of both. It's a tune you've heard Willie do before, with Cash back on the Storytellers episode for instance, but this time he's doing it with one of the biggest names in Reggae, Toots Hibbert of Toots and the Maytals.

Do I need to tell you it's great . . . nah you knew that already.

Additional great tunes that Wal-Mart will allow you to hear if you promise not to think about smoking pot at the time: "Undo the Right," "Something To Think About."