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Willie Nelson - Phases & Stages LP


8th Records

By the 1970s, country music legend Willie Nelson was stuck in a rut. The royalties he had earned from songwriting had dried up, his own material was no longer seeing great commercial profits, and the Nashville music scene he'd thrived in had rejected his concept album Yesterday's Wine. Compounded with a series of other personal events, this lack of success led Nelson to leave the music business, and retreat to Austin, Texas.

Despite his original intent to remain retired, Austin's burgeoning hippie music scene instead revitalized Nelson, and he experienced newfound popularity after performing a new brand of country music, marked by folk and jazz influences as well as traditional country. Nelson returned to recording soon after, signing to Atlantic Records, where he was the first ever country artist on the label. With greater creative control than he had before, he gathered a backing band and went to work.

Nelson had already began to stretch out artistically with his previous album, 1973's Shotgun Willie, and though the album was only moderately successful, (Despite setting the stage for the arrival of the Outlaw Country genre of music) it was enough to keep Atlantic interested. Nelson's 1974 record Phases And Stages was another artistic leap, in the form of another concept album about divorce, splitting the two sides between the perspective of a wife and a husband. Though the album was still a far cry from his earliest hit-making days, it was still a Billboard-charter, containing the #17-ranking single "Bloody Mary Morning", and received widespread praise from critics, who continued to embrace Nelson's darker output. A pivotal album that helped put Willie back in the public eye, and foresaw one of his greatest successes in 1975.

1 Phases & Stages (Theme) / Washing The Dishes
2 Phases & Stages (Theme) / Walkin’
3 Pretend I Never Happened
4 Sister’s Coming Home / Down At The Corner Beef Joint
5 (How Will I Know) I’m Falling In Love Again
6 Bloody Mary Morning
7 Phases & Stages (Theme) / No Love Around
8 I Still Can’t Believe You’re Gone
9 It’s Not Supposed To Be That Way
10 Heaven & Hell
11 Phases & Stages (Theme) / Pick Up The Tempo / Phases & Stages (Theme)