The Essential Kris Kristofferson

The Essential Kris Kristofferson

by Kris KristoffersonKris Kristofferson


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The two-disc Essential Kris Kristofferson summarizes this revered outlaw's contribution to straight-no-chaser contemporary country music in 37 cuts -- all but one (a 1999 live track from his Austin Sessions album) dating to his '70s and '80s prime. Disc 1 is worth the price of admission alone and is required listening for any country music fan. Here are the songs that changed the way the mainstream spoke of matters of the heart, the flesh, and the devil: "Me and Bobby McGee," "Help Me Make It Through the Night," "Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down," "To Beat the Devil," "Casey's Last Ride," "Loving Her Was Easier (Than Anything I'll Ever Do Again)," "For the Good Times," and a live version of "The Pilgrim: Chapter 33" represent a turn toward frank, vivid narratives about the real, messy world of loving, losing, and battling for peace of mind. Kristofferson's voice was fairly weathered even in his younger years, and its cragginess compounded the cosmic ennui informing his parched viewpoint. Disc 2 doesn't offer monuments on the order of its predecessor, but it does contain such overlooked gems as "Border Lord," "Broken Freedom Song," and "Nobody Wins." Kristofferson's stirring turn with Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, and Willie Nelson on Jimmy Webb's epic, haunting "Highwayman" is another highlight, and the above-mentioned 1999 track, "Please Don't Tell Me How the Story Ends," marks a moment when Kristofferson reasserted his gift most persuasively. The early work retains all of its potency -- and has even gained a bit in light of the formulaic turn of mainstream country writing today -- and the '80s work begs to be reconsidered. This set lives up to its title, and then some.

Product Details

Release Date: 03/02/2004
Label: Sony
UPC: 0074646499221
catalogNumber: 64992
Rank: 16244

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Kris Kristofferson   Primary Artist,Guitar,Background Vocals
Norman Blake   Dobro
Josh Graves   Dobro
Mickey Newbury   Background Vocals
Buddy Spicher   Fiddle
Rita Coolidge   Background Vocals
Gary Busey   Background Vocals
Pete Drake   Steel Guitar
Donnie Fritts   Keyboards,Background Vocals
Chris Gantry   Guitar
Mac Gayden   Guitar
Steve Gibson   Guitar
Clydie King   Background Vocals
Dennis Linde   Guitar
Larry Murray   Background Vocals
Billy Swan   Bass,Guitar,Background Vocals
Sammi Smith   Background Vocals
Jack Skinner   Background Vocals
Grady Martin   Guitar
Bobby Wood   Keyboards
Larry Gatlin   Background Vocals
Buzz Cason   Background Vocals
Bobbye Hall   Percussion
John Beland   Background Vocals
Dennis Belfield   Bass
Byron Berline   Background Vocals
Stephen Bruton   Guitar,Background Vocals
Kenny Buttrey   Drums
Harrison Calloway   Horn
Jerry Carrigan   Drums
James Cason   Background Vocals
Charles Chalmers   Background Vocals
Sandra Chalmers   Background Vocals
Chip Young   Guitar
Gene Chrisman   Drums
Johnny Christopher   Guitar
Glen Clark   Keyboards
Tommy Cogbill   Bass
Jim Colvard   Guitar
Jim Cox   Keyboards
Sammy Creason   Drums
Nick DeCaro   Accordion
Terry Dearmore   Background Vocals
Shane Keister   Keyboards
Bobby Dyson   Bass
Ronnie Eades   Horn
Ray Edenton   Guitar
Bobby Emmons   Keyboards
Venetta Fields   Background Vocals
Chuck Findley   Horn
Paul Franklin   Steel Guitar
Don Gant   Background Vocals
John Harris   Keyboards
Hoyt Hawkins   Background Vocals
Jim Horn   Horn
Tommy Jackson   Fiddle
Jackie Kelso   Horn
Jerry Kennedy   Guitar
Millie Kirkham   Background Vocals
Mark Knopfler   Guitar,Background Vocals
Mike Leech   Bass
Darrell Leonard   Horn
Tommy McClure   Bass
Jerry McGee   Dobro,Guitar,Mandolin,Sitar,Background Vocals
Farrell Morris   Percussion
Wayne Moss   Guitar
Weldon Myrick   Steel Guitar
Andy Newmark   Drums
June Page   Background Vocals
Terry Paul   Bass,Background Vocals
Larry Paxton   Bass
Herb Pedersen   Background Vocals
Earl Lon Price   Horn
Norbert Putnam   Bass
Donna Rhodes   Background Vocals
Alan Rush   Background Vocals
Don Sheffield   Horn
Jerry Shook   Guitar
Dwight Smith   Horn
Gordon Stoker   Background Vocals
Fred Tackett   Guitar,Mandolin
Harvey Thompson   Horn
Jimmy Tittle   Bass
Mike Utley   Keyboards,Background Vocals
Allan Wald   Background Vocals
D. Bergen White   Background Vocals
Benny Whitehead   Background Vocals
John "Bucky" Wilkin   Guitar
Mentor Williams   Background Vocals
John Willis   Guitar
Dick Hyde   Horn
Charlie McCoy   Harmonica,Horn
Fred Carter   Guitar
Leland Sklar   Bass
Ray C. Walker   Background Vocals
Norman Bruton   Mandolin
Randy Cutlers   Background Vocals
David Briggs   Keyboards
Sherlie Matthews   Background Vocals

Technical Credits

Waylon Jennings   Composer
Kris Kristofferson   Composer
Shel Silverstein   Composer
Donnie Fritts   Composer
Dennis Linde   Producer
Jimmy Webb   Composer
David Anderle   Producer
Stephen Bruton   Composer
Nancy Carlen   Producer
Fred Foster   Composer,Producer
Booker T. Jones   Producer
Fred Mollin   Producer
Chips Moman   Producer
Terry Paul   Composer
Norbert Putnam   Producer
Mike Utley   Composer
Howard Fritzson   Art Direction
John Christiana   Packaging Manager
Fred L. Foster   Composer

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