1001 Albums You Must Hear (and Blog about) Before You Die

My attempt to blog all of the entries from the book 1001 Albums to Hear Before You Die

648. Red Headed Stranger – Willie Nelson

Brief Background: Red Headed Stranger is a concept album by Willie Nelson about a man who kills his wife and her lover after finding them in bed together. The man wanders from place to place trying to find redemption and love following the killing. The album was recorded over five days in January of 1975 and was released in May of the same year.

What I think: This is an album that is helpful knowing something about before listening to it. I knew very little about it and that really changed what I thought about the album. I really felt like they were a group of songs that were tossed together instead of an album that worked as a whole. I was also confused by some of the perfunctory tracks and didn’t understand why they weren’t stretched out a little.

It turns out the link I was missing was the story that goes through it and that does change how I feel. It ties the songs together and makes the short tracks work. In fact, the story on this album maybe the first one I’ve ever encountered that actually makes sense stays on track the whole way through. I also like how Nelson made a concept album that doesn’t contain all original compositions, with almost half of them written by others and fitting them nicely into the story. In fact, the most important songs to the plot are covers.

Do I agree or disagree with the writers as to this being an album you must listen to? Before reading about the album I would have said no, after words I say definitely.

Rating (Out of 5) 4

Red Headed Stranger Amazon Rating(Out of 5):5

Is this my first time hearing this album? Yes (276/354)

Percentage of Albums that are new to me: 78%


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This entry was posted on October 30, 2016 by and tagged , , , .

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