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Willie Nelson - Crazy: The Demo Sessions

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Crazy: The Demo Sessions - Willie Nelson

Crazy: The Demo Sessions - Willie Nelson

Sugar Hill

The Bottom Line

It's not hard to find good things to say about Willie Nelson. As a country music legend, he is automatically recognizable to people whether they know country music or not; his voice, his face, the very sound of his ancient, beat-up guitar, his infamous problems with the IRS and open use of marijuana, are all well known to most people, in and out of the country music circle. No one is unfamiliar with Willie Nelson but even Willie had to start somewhere.
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  • "I've Just Destroyed The World"
  • "The Local Memory"
  • "Darkness On The Face Of The Earth"


  • None.


  • Willie and his guitar, selling songs to Nashville.
  • Includes Willie's original demo of the Patsy Cline hit, "Crazy."
  • Excellent example of Willie's early style.

Guide Review - Willie Nelson - Crazy: The Demo Sessions

This package of early demo recordings (many of which feature only Willie and his exquisite guitar playing) shows very clearly that he was well geared up to follow that path even when he was struggling mightily against Nashville's desire to polish him into a Tiffany-set diamond when he was very clearly quite a different kind of gem.

Willie arrived in Nashville in 1960 and by 1962 was a well-respected songwriter, having penned hits for Faron Young, Patsy Cline, and Ray Price, but he could not break through as a recording artist. His unique sound and style was ill-suited for the heavy production and string arrangements Nashville was embracing in the early 60's, and despite a sound that was as true and real as Willie himself, he did not work well with the Countrypolitan "Nashville Sound," and his music didn't sell until he took up his own reins and produced the masterpiece, "Red Headed Stranger."

The expansive and informative liner notes tell the story of Willie Nelson in a few crisp, well-written paragraphs, including the comment that these early demos closely resemble the music he would release fourteen years later on "Red Headed Stranger." It seems obvious that Willie always knew exactly how he wanted to sound and what he wanted to produce, but he was pounding his head on a honky-tonk door Nashville had closed. Willie isn't a diamond; he's more of a tiger's eye; rougher, simpler, but every bit as beautiful in the right setting.

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