Sugar Hill Compiles Early Willie Nelson Demos
Sugar Hill Records will on Feb. 11 release Willie Nelson's "Crazy: The Demo Sessions," a digitally remastered set including tracks Nelson recorded as songwriting demos in Nashville in the early 1960s,Sugar Hill Records will on Feb. 11 release Willie Nelson's "Crazy: The Demo Sessions," a digitally remastered set including tracks Nelson recorded as songwriting demos in Nashville in the early 1960s, before he struck it big as a solo artist. The set boasts eight previously unreleased recordings, including one Nelson original that was just discovered.
The sessions were recorded for Hal Smith and Ray Price's Pamper Music publishing company, and were found in 1994 in the Nashville vaults of Sony/ATV/Tree publishing, who bought Pamper in 1969. Producer Steve Fishell and Nelson selected 15 songs from a reel labeled "Pamper Demos" to compile the album.
"As a producer, I've listened to countless song demos, but these tapes were like nothing I've heard before," Sugar Hill's A&R director Fishell in a statement. "Within 15 minutes I found myself reaching in the refrigerator for a cold beer. The demos show us that Willie had his unique sound as early as 1960, but it took 15 years for the world to catch up with him."
Among the songs featured on "Crazy" include the title track -- the original Nelson version which was used to introduce the song to Patsy Cline, who made it a huge hit in 1961 -- and the earliest known versions of Nelson classics "A Moment Isn't Very Long," "The Local Memory," and "I Gotta Get Drunk." They join "I'm Still Here," a never-before-heard Nelson composition. Seven of the songs feature the Pamper studio band, while the remaining eight are versions with just Nelson and his guitar.
The compilation is also enhanced with a video interview with songwriter Hank Cochran relating important moments in Nelson's early career, including signing to Pamper and first pitching "Crazy" to Cline.
Here is the track list for "Crazy: The Demo Sessions":
"Opportunity To Cry"
"Undo the Right"
"What Do You Think of Her Now"
"I've Just Destroyed the World"
"Are You Sure"
"Darkness on the Face of the Earth"
"Things to Remember"
"A Moment Isn't Very Long"
"The Local Memory"
"I Gotta Get Drunk"
"Something To Think About"
"I'm Still Here"