Musical highlights of the third Willie Nelson & Friends television special will be released on CD Sept. 21 via Lost Highway. Taped May 5 at the Wiltern LG in Los Angeles, “Outlaws and Angels” aired on the U.S. Memorial Day holiday on the USA Network.
The track list for the audio disc reflects the considerable star power that was on hand to perform with Nelson, including Keith Richards, Merle Haggard, Kid Rock, Joe Walsh, Jerry Lee Lewis and Toby Keith.
Haggard and Keith are the most-represented collaborators, joining Walsh and Nelson on Haggard’s “Ramblin’ Fever,” as well as on versions of Townes Van Zandt’s “Pancho & Lefty” and Haggard’s “Mama Tried.” Keith also appears with Walsh on a disc-opening version of Billy Joe Shaver’s “Georgia on a Fast Train.”
Haggard collaborates with Richards, Kid Rock and Lewis on the latter’s classic rave up, “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Going On,” while Haggard and Nelson close out the set with a take on “I’ll Fly Away.”
Other guests performing with Nelson were reggae veteran Toots Hibbert, soul legends Al Green and the Holmes Brothers, country singer Lee Ann Womack, rock group Los Lonely Boys and singer/songwriters Ben Harper, Carole King, Shelby Lynne, Lucinda Williams and Rickie Lee Jones.
Backing each ensemble was an impressive house band, led by musical director/guitarist Jimmy Ripp. The group’s ranks were bolstered by guitarists Nils Lofgren, Biff Watson and Kenny Lovelace, bassist Hutch Hutchinson, pianist Ivan Neville, keyboardist Jim Cox, drummer Jim Keltner, pedal steel player Greg Leisz, harmonica legend Mickey Raphael and a horn section boasting Dave Woodford (sax), Bill Churchville (trumpet) and Garrett Atkins (trombone).
Additionally, Maxine Waters Willard, Julia Waters Tillman, Bernard Fowler and Stacie Michelle provided background vocals and Nelson’s own Family Band, featuring sister Bobbie Nelson (piano), Paul English (drums), Billy English (percussion) Bee Spears (bass) and Jody Payne (guitar/background vocals) crowded the stage to round out the sound.
If you missed the musical summit the first time around, cable/satellite television arts network Trio will rebroadcast the “Willie Nelson & Friends: Outlaws and Angels” special, emceed by actor James Caan, on Saturday (Aug. 14).
Here is the “Outlaws and Angels” track list:
“Georgia on a Fast Train” with Toby Keith and Joe Walsh
“Ramblin’ Fever” with Toby Keith, Joe Walsh and Merle Haggard
“Shotgun Willie” with Kid Rock
“Rainin’ in My Heart” with Al Green
“Stormy Weather” with Shelby Lynne
“Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” with Carole King
“Still Is Still Moving to Me” with Toots Hibbert
“Midnight Rider” with Ben Harper
“Pressure Drop” with Toots Hibbert
“I’ll Never Be Free” with Lee Ann Womack
“Opportunity To Cry” with the Holmes Brothers
“Cisco Kid” with Los Lonely Boys
“Pancho & Lefty” with Merle Haggard and Toby Keith
“Overtime” with Lucinda Williams
“Mama Tried” with Merle Haggard and Toby Keith
“Comes Love” with Rickie Lee Jones
“We Had It All” with Keith Richards
“Whole Lotta Shakin’ Going On” with Jerry Lee Lewis, Kid Rock, Keith Richards and Merle Haggard
“I’ll Fly Away” with Merle Haggard