I was impressed by the 60 studio albums released by James Brown over the course of his career. Well, Willie Nelson makes Brown look like a slacker.
Nelson has released a whopping 95 studio albums, including 75 solo records and 20 in collaboration with others. That’s an average of one and a half albums per year for nearly 60 years! And I’m not including live albums or soundtracks.
Nelson released just one album in 1974, but it’s considered one of his very best.
Phases and Stages is a concept album chronicling a divorce from the perspective of both the wife and husband, with each party featured on one side of the record.
Side A is told from the wife’s point of view, and it becomes clear pretty quickly that she is the more sympathetic figure. She leaves her two-timing husband, tentatively reenters the social scene, and ends up finding love again. Today’s track is the final song on Side A, in which she hopes her next relationship will avoid the pitfalls of her last.
Side B doesn’t seek to justify the husband’s actions, but rather to have him regret his mistakes and realize too late how badly he mistreated his wife, even as he knows he isn’t going to change.
The song cycle makes use of repeated themes and motifs, and Nelson delivers a wonderful vocal performance throughout, making Phases and Stages both a great listen and a thoughtful work of art.
I have little to no familiarity with Nelson’s work but this album has me wanting to remedy that. One down, 94 to go!
I’m falling in love again
I never thought I would again
I never I thought I would
And I may be making mistakes again
But if I lose or win
How will I know
How will I know [3x]
And I’m falling in love again
95 albums?!? Jeez, Willie gives new meaning to being on the road again!
I was going to mention On the road again too!