The Year of Willie
Part Six: Always on My Mind
First Appeared at The Music Box, January 2004, Volume 11, #1
Written by John Metzger
Since its release in 1982, Always on My Mind has become one of Willie Nelsonís biggest commercial successes, selling over four million copies and spending 28 weeks on the Billboard album chart. Its title track topped the magazineís listing for country singles and crossed over to hit number five on the pop side. Unfortunately, itís a terribly flawed affair that found Nelson following, rather than leading, country musicís re-emergence into the mainstream.
Whatís particularly puzzling about this change in direction is that Nelson had not been pleased with Nashvilleís insistence on draping pop-oriented string arrangements on his early works. Twenty years later, Nelson opted to sanitize his own music on Always on My Mind by burying it in bland, keyboard-heavy arrangements under the guidance of his hand-selected producer Chips Moman. Even stranger, there were only two Nelson-penned tracks on the album, which instead found the singer-songwriter drably reinterpreting tunes by Procol Harum (Whiter Shade of Pale), Gilbert Becaud and Pierre Delanoť (Let It Be Me), and Paul Simon (Bridge Over Troubled Water). The collection has its occasional moments, and while itís certainly better than some of the other country music of its time, it hardly compares with Nelsonís classic í70s output or his 1998 gem Teatro.
The recent reissue of Always on My Mind features two additional tracks ó The Man Who Owes Everyone and Iím a Memory. Both songs fit within the scope of the original album, and actually are better than some of the tunes that are on it, making them a nice addition. However, their inclusion is hardly reason to pick up this lifeless flop from a guy who should have known better.
This is the sixth installment of a eight-part series, which examines the recent slate of reissues of Willie Nelson's Columbia catalogue by Legacy.
The Year of Willie
Part One: To Lefty from Willie
Part Two: Willie and Family Live
Part Three: San Antonio Rose
Part Four: Honeysuckle Rose
Part Seven: Pancho & Lefty
Part Eight: Tougher than Leather
Always on My Mind is available from Barnes & Noble.
To order, Click Here!
1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2003 The Music Box