Rick Nelson, A Night to Remember

Fred Goodman

By Fred Goodman

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

A Night To Remember

Rick Nelson

Bob Dylan's Chronicles put Rick Nelson back on your radar, too? That Dylan should single out Nelson for praise shouldn't come as a surprise: television shows from Ozzie and Harriet to The Monkees to American Idol have always been a tool for fabricating pop stars — and only Rick Nelson transcended that start. Whatever the television show looks like to today's viewers, his late-'50s and early-'60s recordings, especially those for Los Angeles 'Imperial label, remain a model of simple but tasty pop records: though far from folk records there is a surprising lack of contrivance and an unpretentious Americana in many of these songs, particularly "Lonesome Town" and "Travellin 'Man." This album is a late live date with the Stone Canyon Band from the latter part of Nelson's career. And while he reinvented himself as a jean-clad son of the soil, Nelson was never apologetic about his earlier outstanding work. Here he covers many of the early hits including the two mentioned above as well as "Poor Little Fool" and "Stood Up" along with the autobiographical 1972 comeback hit "Garden Party." Hey, it might not be a good idea to believe everything in Chronicles, but this guy was straightforward, plainspoken and real.