“If you can’t say you love me, say you hate me / … If you can’t undo the wrong, undo the right.” They’re the words of a young Willie Nelson that make me feel like my emotional heart has never felt a thing. They are also the words of a young Willie Nelson that put him in a league of his own among both singers and songwriters alike. I’m not talkin’ about longhaired, pigtailed, hippie Willie Nelson. I’m talkin’ about clean-cut, broke Willie Nelson, wearing a tight suit so black it would even make Johnny Cash proud.
Crazy: The Demo Sessions captures this lesser-known era beautifully. Crazy contains 15 very rare demos from 1960 to 1966, including one track never heard by the public. It contains a most heartbroken singer-songwriter, mostly accompanied by his guitar. It contains pure songs that can only be described as lovely. But best of all, it contains the work of a masterful wordsmith, heard in a way he was never meant to be heard. Nelson appears to be fragile and vulnerable, like any good singer-songwriter should be. He opens up and pours out his insides, often blaming himself for love gone bad. The songs were recorded so simply, you can hear his fingers sliding up and down the guitar as well as a slight cracking in his voice. Despite the rawness of the recordings, they’re certainly treasures for anyone who is a fan of “true music.” Just one question: Where was Budweiser when these tracks came out?
[Davey Maybe doesn’t own an acoustic guitar.]