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.


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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