Music » CD Reviews

Willie Nelson

Crazy: The Demo Sessions (Sugar Hill)

by

comment
In 1960, a broke Willie Nelson left a steady gig at Houston's Esquire Club for Nashville. Despite finding instant success as a hit songwriter for premier Nashville talents like Patsy Cline, Ray Price, and Billy Walker, a frustrated Nelson returned to Texas in 1973 having recorded 14 albums for three labels without achieving commercial success. Shortly after his arrival back on native soil, Nelson played his legendary gig at Austin's Armadillo World Headquarters and began a country music revolution now referred to as the Outlaw Movement.

Selected from Nelson's 1961-'66 demo recordings made as a staff songwriter for Ray Price's Pamper Music, Crazy: The Demo Sessions is some of the most damaging evidence ever of the closed-minded blunders of the Nashville cultural gatekeepers. Songs like the huge Patsy Cline hit "Crazy," "Permanently Lonely," "Are You Sure," and "Opportunity to Cry" vividly illustrate Nelson's incredible comprehension of the idiom and the breadth of his songwriting vocabulary. Discovered on reel-to-reel in Sony's vaults in 1994 and recently restored by Buddy Miller, Crazy: The Demo Sessions stands among Nelson's many masterworks.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at news@clevescene.com.

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club


Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.


Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.


Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club for as little as $5 a month.