Willie Nelson - To All The Girls…

Honky tonk women

The hardest-working octogenarian in country music, this is Nelson’s second release in his 80th birthday year, and a fine addition to a weighty catalogue already packed with duets. It may take its title from the two-hander hit he had with Julio Igelsias, but the album’s 18 tracks are strictly ladies invitations.

On first listen, the old guard impress the most. Roseanne Cash matches Willie note for tear-jerking note on the fatalistic Please

Don’t Tell Me (How The Story Ends), Dolly Parton brings a sweet and tender tone to From Here To The Moon And Back, and Emmylou Harris weaves her harmonic spell on the contemplative Dry River.

Let’s not discount the new gals on the block, though, as It Won’t Be Very Long pops and fizzes with the flirtatious youthfulness of The Secret Sisters. Veering off the country path, but not by much, the soulful groove of Grandma’s Hands is spiced up by deep-throated Mavis Staples, and Walkin’ showcases Norah Jones at her melancholic, bluesy best. 

4 stars 4 stars 4 stars 4 stars

Sony Legacy | cat no tbc (CD / LP)

Reviewed by Terry Staunton
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