Willie Nelson, Willie Nelson and Family

Andy Beta

By Andy Beta

on 05.15.11 in Reviews

Willie Nelson And Family

Willie Nelson
Capturing the communal vibe he nurtured in Ridgetop

Not to be confused with the live album that appeared at the end of the decade, this 1971 studio album was no doubt a bittersweet one for Willie. With its cover photo of the man alongside his wife, family, friends and cronies around a campfire on his property in Ridgetop, some 25 miles outside of Nashville, it captures the communal vibe that Willie had nurtured there, at least until his home burned down in 1970, prompting a return to the Texas Hill Country. Sure there are countrypolitan strings that threaten to derail the entire affair, but Willie’s ear leads him to a strong take on Kristofferson’s “Sunday Morning Coming Down” as well as James Taylor’s “Fire and Rain.” And his own pen remains sharp on the uptempo “I’m a Memory” and the defiant ballad “What Can You Do to Me Now.”