The year was 1975, and Willie Nelson figured he could trust bad luck more than good. His last album, Phases and Stages, had sold a pleasant 400,000 copies, but 21 previous records had largely lackluster sales. He’d tried pig farming on the side and ”lost my ass and all its fixtures.” His house had burned down, and rushing into the flames, he’d saved only his guitar and a pound of Colombian weed. So, after years of bucking the country establishment in Nashville, playing bass for Ray Price, and watching songs he wrote for himself (”Crazy,” ”Night Life,” ”Hello, Walls”) become hits for others, Nelson, who had moved back to his native Texas in 1970, got ready to deliver his Columbia debut, Red Headed Stranger, a concept album of love, murder, and redemption involving an Old West preacher and his cuckolding wife.
It was Nelson’s first effort at combining his own songs with others’ in a cohesive story. ”I wrote it as if I were the guy, which is probably the way I write everything,” he would later say. Produced in three days for $20,000 in a small studio in Garland, Tex., Stranger was everything a commercial country record shouldn’t be. It was a song cycle, not a grab bag of detached ditties. It used his own rough-edged band instead of smooth studio pickers.
When Billy Sherrill, Columbia’s top man in Nashville, heard it, he walked out of the room. When Waylon Jennings and Willie’s manager, Neil Reshen, played it for the New York brass, they thought it was a demo. Nelson reminded them of his creative-control clause and pledged to give it up if the LP bombed — but not even he foresaw what was about to happen.
Stranger became the first Nelson album ever to reach the Billboard pop chart when it debuted at No. 189 on July 26, 1975. It yielded two crossover singles, ”Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain” and ”Remember Me.” The album, too, was a mainstream hit, selling like Gatorade at a chili cook-off-some 2 million copies over the next decade. It propelled Nelson to cult status overnight and, most important, introduced modern country music, single-handedly revitalizing a genre long considered the province of hayseeds. (ew.com)
And here´s a wonderful Willie Nelson concert from this year … this show should promote his “Red Headed Stranger”.
And here´s is theKWST-FM Broadcast Recording of this shoiw.
Another highligt in the history ofWillie Nelson !
Recorded live at the Troubadour West Hollywood CA., November 06, 1975
Paul “The Devil” English (drums)
Rex Ludwick (drums)
Bobbi Nelson (piano)
Willie Nelson (guitar, vocals)
Jody Payne (guitar, vocals
Micky Raphael (harmonica)
Bee Spears (bass)
01. Introduction 0.12
02. Whiskey River (Bush/Stroud) 4.35
03. Stay All Night (Wills/Duncan) 2.55
04. Funny How Time Slips Away (Nelson) 2.29
05. Crazy (Nelson) 1.36
06. Night Life (Nelson) 3.55
07. Me & Paul (Nelson) 2.44
08. Bloody Mary Morning (Nelson) 2.36
09. I Still Can’t Believe You’re Gone (Nelson) 4.08
10. It’s Not Supposed To Be That Way (Nelson) 2.04
11. A Good Hearted Woman In Love With A Good Timin’ Man (Jennings/Nelson) 2.53
12. KWST-FM Los Angeles Radio Station Promo 0.12
13. Time Of The Preacher (Nelson) 2.09
14. I Could Not Believe It Was True (Mellencamp) 1.08
15. Time Of The Preacher Theme (Nelson) 1.16
16. Blue Rock Montana (Nelson/Stutz/Lindeman) 1.30
17.Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain (Rose) 2.19
18. Red Headed Stranger Nelson/Stutz/Lindeman) 3.16
19. Time Of The Preacher Theme (reprise) (Nelson) 2.00
20. Unknown Song (instrumental) 1.27
21. Band introductions 1.01
22. What Can You Do To Me Now (Nelson/Cochran) 3.24
23. Shotgun Willie (Nelson) 2.41
24. A Song For You (Russell) 3.00
25. Rollin’ In My Sweet Baby’s Arms (Traditional) 3.01
26. Will The Circle Be Unbroken (Habershon/Gabriel) 3.55