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Willie Nelson - Milk Cow Blues

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Milk Cow Blues

Willie Nelson

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Willie Nelson's idiosyncratic vocal style has always been heavily influenced by the blues, just as much as it has been by country, pop, and folk, but he's never recorded a straight blues album until 2000's Milk Cow Blues. Any longtime Nelson fan will undoubtedly by quietly thrilled with the idea of a straight blues album, and the very first notes of the album make it seem like the record will deliver on its promise. Then Francine Reed starts singing. Yes, Milk Cow Blues is designed as a star-studded duets album, which is apparently the only way major labels think a new album from a veteran superstar can seem like an "event," since it will attract press attention and curiosity from fans. Sometimes, the concept works, at least commercially, as proved by the stunning surprise success of Santana's Supernatural. Here, the idea just guts the album of any power it may have had, since Nelson immediately finds an appealingly unusual groove in each song and you want to hear him follow it through to the end. The duets always seem like an intrusion to his musical vision, especially since everybody except Dr. John oversells these songs, singing like a cliché instead of finding their own sound. It's all the more frustrating because Nelson really does find his voice on each song here, a fact that's apparent on the three songs he has to himself: his original "Wake Me When It's Over," "Sittin' on Top of the World," and "Lonely Street." These are great recordings and they can't help but put the rest of the album into sharp relief, since even though they have the same great performances from Nelson and his stellar band, they feel cluttered with guests. Ultimately, those cameos, which are intended to broaden the audience, wind up short-circuiting a record that could have been a modest highlight of Nelson's latter-day catalog. As it stands now, Milk Cow Blues is largely a wasted opportunity. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

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Milk Cow Blues

Willie Nelson

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1
Milk Cow Blues (Album Version)
00:04:31

Willie Nelson, MainArtist - Fred McDowell, ComposerLyricist - LARRY GREENHILL, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Stuart Sullivan, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Kokomo Arnold, ComposerLyricist - Freddy Fletcher, Producer - Derek O'Brien, Producer - Francine Reed, FeaturedArtist

℗ 2000 The Island Def Jam Music Group

2
Outskirts Of Town (Album Version)
00:02:56

Roy Jordan, ComposerLyricist - Willie Nelson, MainArtist - LARRY GREENHILL, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Stuart Sullivan, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - William Weldon, ComposerLyricist - Keb' Mo', FeaturedArtist - Freddy Fletcher, Producer - Derek O'Brien, Producer

℗ 2000 The Island Def Jam Music Group

3
Black Night (Album Version)
00:05:22

Dr. John, FeaturedArtist - Willie Nelson, MainArtist - Jessie Mae Robinson, ComposerLyricist - LARRY GREENHILL, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Stuart Sullivan, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Freddy Fletcher, Producer - Derek O'Brien, Producer

℗ 2000 The Island Def Jam Music Group

4
Funny (How Time Slips Away) (Album Version)
00:04:11

Willie Nelson, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - LARRY GREENHILL, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Stuart Sullivan, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Freddy Fletcher, Producer - Derek O'Brien, Producer - Francine Reed, FeaturedArtist

℗ 2000 The Island Def Jam Music Group

5
Rainy Day Blues (Album Version)
00:05:09

Willie Nelson, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - Jonny Lang, FeaturedArtist - LARRY GREENHILL, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Stuart Sullivan, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Freddy Fletcher, Producer - Derek O'Brien, Producer

℗ 2000 The Island Def Jam Music Group

6
Crazy (Album Version)
00:04:16

Willie Nelson, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - LARRY GREENHILL, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Stuart Sullivan, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Susan Tedeschi, FeaturedArtist - Freddy Fletcher, Producer - Derek O'Brien, Producer

℗ 2000 The Island Def Jam Music Group

7
The Thrill Is Gone (Album Version)
00:04:25

B.B. King, MainArtist - Willie Nelson, MainArtist - LARRY GREENHILL, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Roy Hawkins, ComposerLyricist - Stuart Sullivan, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Rick Darnell, ComposerLyricist - Freddy Fletcher, Producer - Derek O'Brien, Producer

℗ 2000 The Island Def Jam Music Group

8
Wake Me When It's Over (Album Version)
00:04:12

Willie Nelson, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - LARRY GREENHILL, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Stuart Sullivan, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Freddy Fletcher, Producer - Derek O'Brien, Producer

℗ 2000 The Island Def Jam Music Group A Universal Company

9
Kansas City (Album Version)
00:02:51

Jerry Leiber, ComposerLyricist - Mike Stoller, ComposerLyricist - Willie Nelson, MainArtist - LARRY GREENHILL, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Stuart Sullivan, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Susan Tedeschi, FeaturedArtist - Freddy Fletcher, Producer - Derek O'Brien, Producer

℗ 2000 The Island Def Jam Music Group

10
Fool's Paradise (Album Version)
00:04:17

Dr. John, FeaturedArtist - Willie Nelson, MainArtist - LARRY GREENHILL, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Stuart Sullivan, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Johnny Fuller, ComposerLyricist - David Avid, ComposerLyricist - Robert Geddins, ComposerLyricist - Freddy Fletcher, Producer - Derek O'Brien, Producer

℗ 2000 The Island Def Jam Music Group

11
Ain't Nobody's Business (Album Version)
00:05:08

Willie Nelson, MainArtist - Clarence Williams, Author - Porter Grainger, Composer - Jonny Lang, FeaturedArtist - LARRY GREENHILL, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Stuart Sullivan, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Graham Prince, Author - Freddy Fletcher, Producer - Derek O'Brien, Producer

℗ 2000 The Island Def Jam Music Group

12
Night Life (2000 Album Version)
00:04:25

Walt Breeland, ComposerLyricist - Paul Buskirk, ComposerLyricist - B.B. King, FeaturedArtist - Dave McNair, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Willie Nelson, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - Boo MacLeod, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - LARRY GREENHILL, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Stuart Sullivan, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Steve Chadie, Assistant Mixer, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Freddy Fletcher, Producer - Derek O'Brien, Producer

℗ 2000 The Island Def Jam Music Group

13
Sittin' On Top Of The World (Album Version)
00:04:46

James Robert Wills, ComposerLyricist - Willie Nelson, MainArtist - Bob Wills, ComposerLyricist - LARRY GREENHILL, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Stuart Sullivan, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Freddy Fletcher, Producer - Derek O'Brien, Producer

℗ 2000 The Island Def Jam Music Group A Universal Company

14
Lonely Street (Album Version)
00:04:26

W.S. Stevenson, ComposerLyricist - Kenny Sowder, ComposerLyricist - Carl R. Belew, ComposerLyricist - Willie Nelson, MainArtist - LARRY GREENHILL, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Stuart Sullivan, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - William Mickey Stevenson, ComposerLyricist - Freddy Fletcher, Producer - Derek O'Brien, Producer

℗ 2000 The Island Def Jam Music Group A Universal Company

15
Texas Flood (Album Version)
00:08:48

Willie Nelson, MainArtist - Kenny Wayne Shepherd, FeaturedArtist - LARRY GREENHILL, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Larry Davis, ComposerLyricist - Stuart Sullivan, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Joseph Wade Scott, ComposerLyricist - Freddy Fletcher, Producer - Larry Charles Davis, ComposerLyricist - Derek O'Brien, Producer

℗ 2000 The Island Def Jam Music Group

Descrizione dell'album

Willie Nelson's idiosyncratic vocal style has always been heavily influenced by the blues, just as much as it has been by country, pop, and folk, but he's never recorded a straight blues album until 2000's Milk Cow Blues. Any longtime Nelson fan will undoubtedly by quietly thrilled with the idea of a straight blues album, and the very first notes of the album make it seem like the record will deliver on its promise. Then Francine Reed starts singing. Yes, Milk Cow Blues is designed as a star-studded duets album, which is apparently the only way major labels think a new album from a veteran superstar can seem like an "event," since it will attract press attention and curiosity from fans. Sometimes, the concept works, at least commercially, as proved by the stunning surprise success of Santana's Supernatural. Here, the idea just guts the album of any power it may have had, since Nelson immediately finds an appealingly unusual groove in each song and you want to hear him follow it through to the end. The duets always seem like an intrusion to his musical vision, especially since everybody except Dr. John oversells these songs, singing like a cliché instead of finding their own sound. It's all the more frustrating because Nelson really does find his voice on each song here, a fact that's apparent on the three songs he has to himself: his original "Wake Me When It's Over," "Sittin' on Top of the World," and "Lonely Street." These are great recordings and they can't help but put the rest of the album into sharp relief, since even though they have the same great performances from Nelson and his stellar band, they feel cluttered with guests. Ultimately, those cameos, which are intended to broaden the audience, wind up short-circuiting a record that could have been a modest highlight of Nelson's latter-day catalog. As it stands now, Milk Cow Blues is largely a wasted opportunity. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

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