Without A Song

Without A Song

Without a Song is essentially a sequel to Stardust, the 1978 album of standards that brought Willie Nelson to a whole new plateau of fame. For the occasion Nelson reunited with Booker T. Jones, who produced, arranged and played keyboards on Stardust. While this effort doesn’t have the gilded inspiration of its predecessor, there are several sterling interpretations here. Most prominent is the title song, a reading of a 1930 Paul Whiteman tune that became the album’s lone hit. The performance is emblematic of the Jones-Nelson collaboration. They took a stuffy song that contemporary listeners viewed as crusty and corny and made it into something deeply languorous, sensual and seductive. As was the case with Stardust, the instrumentation here is based on the warm glow of Jones’ keyboard; the performances always grow out of that gentle sound. Over the course of the album, the pacing and atmosphere takes on an aching, if not narcotic, tone, and by the time Julio Iglesias emerges to sing “If Times Goes By” the listener feels he's entered a surreal but seductive dream state.

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