Willie Nelson The Outlaw

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Willie Nelson The Outlaw

Postby lo&m on Tue Dec 17, 2013 6:41 pm

Willie Nelson The Outlaw
Graeme Thomson
ISBN: 1852273003
Reading this biography, it strikes me more than anything else that Willie Nelson is a great fellow to be around if you are a fan, musician, business colleague or party animal but not so much if you are a family member. It is ironic that his fans, the people who view him from afar, feel that they know him while those who should be closest to him have always had to battle to attract his attention. His wives have suffered because of that and his children much more so. When he wrote 'It's Not Supposed To Be That Way' for his daughter Susie, he confessed that “it occurred to me that it was easier to sing it than say it”

Not that Willie is a cruel or consciously neglectful husband and father. In fact the book points out the lengths he has gone to to make amends with his ex-wives and children. “There is no such thing as an ex-wife” he says, “only additions”.It's more that he is a product of his upbringing.

Abandoned by his mother when he was only six months old and his father at age four, he and his sister Bobbie, who is two years older, were raised by their grandparents. When his grandfather died when Willie was nine it must have been more pain than any child should be expected to bear. Little wonder that he and Bobbie have remained close thoroughout their lives, or that it left him with abandonment issues. Waylon Jennings is quoted as saying “Willie leaves people before they can leave him” Willie himself said “I had to stop thinking I had a home. You've got to be able to move to the next big town without slashing your wrists”.

And move on he did. From the roadhouses and beer joints around Abbott and Waco to Nashville, Austin and the world. And in doing so Willie has created a world in his own image. A place crafted for him and by him. A family band that has stayed together longer than any family he has ever known. A business that has made and lost fortunes. And a place in the entertainment world that is unique.

There are many stories and legends that have grown around Willie. Many added to by Willie himself, who is not averse to a little self-mythologising. Particulary if he can spice up an interview while giving very little away, as anybody who saw the South Bank Show on him can testify. These would include the Nashville years, the house fire, becoming an icon to rednecks and hippies alike, the IRS problem and the endless series of duet partners.. This biography, which is compiled from public sources, an interview with the author and quotes from many of the people in Willie's life, sheds fresh light on all of these. Not so much debunking them because there is a core of truth in them all but adding extra detail to all the things we thought we knew about Willie Nelson.
Country is a state of mind, not a state of America.
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Re: Willie Nelson The Outlaw

Postby Moshe on Tue Dec 17, 2013 8:21 pm

Interesting review, Bill. Sounds like an interesting book I'll try & get hold of that one.
I think biographies are best written once the subject has lived a good portion of their life, & also when the writer is not wary of shinning a light on their subject, even if it is not always flattering.
I always think of biographies as standing back looking at the life of a person after they have at least lived a substantial part of it. I notice there are a slew of biographies out about Taylor Swift! She has just celebrated her 24th birthday!!! Mind you, I believe that LeAnn Rimes wrote her first autobiography when she was about 14!! :lol:
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Re: Willie Nelson The Outlaw

Postby kev on Wed Dec 18, 2013 9:00 am

Sounds interesting! I've had a copy of that on the shelf for a few years and never got around to reading it .... maybe I'll have a look over Christmas! :xmas38:
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