Naked Willie by Willie Nelson

Grade: B

Even as he continues busily adding new music to his always-growing legacy (most recently with February’s rollicking Willie and the Wheel), Willie Nelson apparently has found a little time to tweak his past a little.

Naked Willie presents 17 tracks from his pre-Outlaw days, stripped—as the title winkingly suggests—of the lush orchestrations that represented the Nashville norm at the time.

While the result will probably be of interest mostly to Willie obsessives who want to hear familiar songs in a new light, Naked Willie also serves as an engaging 48-minute sampler for an occasionally overlooked period of a storied career.

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