Willie Nelson - "Smokin' At The Paradiso (Live In Amsterdam)" Corazong Records----------
"On The Road Again", that is just one of those unforgetable Willie Nelson-songs. I remember a journey by Greyhoundbus from the deep South back to New York, when we started singing this song after every stop. Instigators of all the fun were two young men who, having served a prison sentence, went on their way home! Of course the hitsong also passes by during this feel-good recording of Willie at Amsterdam's Paradiso, June 2000. The songs follow each other almost without intermission, the applause continues sounding loud anyway, while the Texan veteran works himself in an enthusiastic pace through all the highlights of his long career. Especially the classic "Always On My Mind" is delivered in a great way! Over the years Willie started sounding even more obstinate, with the characteristic cutting voice in his very own timing and phrasing. Sometimes it's more reciting than singing, that's how he does Rodney Crowell ("Till I Gain Control Again") justice, for instance. While legendary Willie plays his inseparable acoustic guitar - worn-out and strewn with autographs - the perfect, sometimes a bit jazzy sounding accompanying band takes care of everything else. The line-up doesn't seem changed much since the eighties, when they made a stop at Ahoy in Rotterdam with Willie: sister Bobbie still plays piano, Jody Payne guitar and Mickey Raphael harmonica. It's a pity that the duet-vocal isn't mentioned separately. The instrumentals with French titles are also doing wonderful, especially "Ou Est-Tu Mon Amour"- which blends into Willie's singing of "I Never Cared For You"- is intriguing! He looks tough in the pictures, beard and mustache turned white in the meantime, the braids are still red for the biggest part, hopefully Willie will live to celebrate his hundredth birthday!
Written by Johanna J. Bodde