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The Box Set Series
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  • Originally issued in 2009 as The Music of Willie Nelson, this box set is part of a Legacy series that essentially packages four career-spanning discs into a semi-long-box package containing 45 tracks, with a booklet that features a biographical essay and complete track information. This one divides up easily into three categories, "the singer," "the songwriter," and the collaborator" -- let's face it, there is very little that Nelson hasn't done or accomplished during his 50 years in the music business up to this point. "The singer" chapter includes his charting singles in both the country and pop categories. It includes music from his RCA period -- such as "Sweet Memories" from 1968, through to his final charting single with Columbia in 1986, "Living in the Promiseland." "The songwriter" portion includes tunes he wrote and recorded, including classics such as "On the Road Again," "Yesterday's Wine," and "Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground." Finally, there is the "collaborator" section. In some ways, this part of the collection is the most fun to listen to, as it includes duets with Roger Miller, Merle Haggard, Ray Charles, and Leon Russell, and performances with the Highwaymen, Faron Young, Hank Snow, Dolly Parton, George Jones, and more. This is a different kind of compilation: it provides a solid introduction to the enigma that is Willie Nelson, even if it contains no unreleased material and only covers recordings on RCA and Columbia. ~ Thom Jurek
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