Crazy: The Demo Sessions

Among contemporary figures, few exemplify the richness of American music like Texas singer-songwriter Willie Nelson does. Like any important artist, even his sketchbooks are of interest. In Nelson’s case, said notebooks would be old demo tapes, recorded so his publisher could pitch his tunes to other singers. These 18 songs—15 plus three hidden bonus tracks—turned up on a reel of tape at a Nashville publishing company; Nelson had cut them between 1960 and 1966. Included is Nelson’s original take of “Crazy,” which Patsy Cline heard before waxing her classic 1961 version. The first eight cuts spotlight Nelson’s naked voice accompanied by acoustic guitar; the rest feature a backing band. Eight tracks are unreleased; one, “I’m Still Here,” has never been available in any form. Not all of them are seminal or works of genius or whatever, but if you’re any kind of rabid Willie fan, you’ll need this.