12: Willie Nelson – Till I Gain Control Again.

Posted: February 16, 2013 in Uncategorized
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Hearing the double album, Willie & Family Live, in 1979 was my introduction to Willie Nelson – and a real ear-opener. The quality of the songs, the musicianship of the Family Band, Willie’s casual – almost off-hand – delivery, and the self-evident humanity of the guy made me an instant convert and evangelist for this maverick giant of American music. There are few artists I admire as much as Willie.

In May 1998, I invited him, via his record label, to come and perform live on my BBC Radio 1 programme, never expecting he’d agree. He said yes. (Radio 1 management then tried to stop his appearance on the grounds that Willie was “too old.” I told them to fuck off). The full story is in my book but – in short – he came on and played throughout the two hour show, with the whole band. And he was just as I hoped he’d be – a lovely bloke. When he walked into the studio, – small, wiry, humble, serene – I swear he had a saintly glow around him. What followed is still one of the real high points of my 29 years in broadcasting.

Kersh-nelson

The photo above was taken that afternoon, with my original copy of the album. The song (below) is a track from it – the jaw-dropping Till I Gain Control Again, written by Rodney Crowell, and with Emmylou Harris on backing vocals. This is soul music!

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