Things to Remember: The Pamper Demos

Things to Remember: The Pamper Demos

by Willie NelsonWillie Nelson


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Real Gone's 2018 Things to Remember: The Pamper Demos gathers all the existing demos Willie Nelson recorded for Pamper Music in the early '70s. Several of these recordings initially appeared on the 1995 Rhino box A Classic & Unreleased Collection, then Sugar Hill Records' 2003 set Crazy: The Demo Sessions contained five additional tracks, totaling a grand 15. Things to Remember trumps both sets by gathering 28 demos, nearly tripling the Sugar Hill set. "Demos" suggests these recordings are spare, but many of them bear full arrangements, with piano, steel guitar, and drums; only a handful feature nothing but a guitar and voice. Things to Remember is front-loaded with the material that didn't make it to Crazy, and while there are no standards among these numbers, this collection does serve up the exceptional early original versions of "Crazy," "Healing Hands of Time," "Funny How Time Slips Away," "Pretty Paper," "Hello Walls," and "Night Life" later in the disc. These unheard tracks find Nelson writing strong numbers, whether they're Texas two-steppers like "Where Were You Yesterday" or the cold-blooded murder ballad "I Just Can't Let You Say Goodbye." As impressive as Nelson's songwriting acumen are his performances. Whether on his own or with a band, he demonstrates the wily, inventive phrasing that would later become his trademark, which means these demos never feel perfunctory: they're as fully realized as any of his early recordings, possibly even richer in some ways.

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