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Outlaws and Angels (Live At Wiltern Theatre, Los Angeles 2004)

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Album Review

Outlaws and Angels is the audio counterpart to the Willie Nelson Special that aired on cable television in the summer of 2004. Here, Nelson is surrounded by friends who also happen to be fans. Among them are Keith Richards, Lucinda Williams, Merle Haggard, Carole King, Al Green, the Holmes Brothers, Toby Keith, Kid Rock, Shelby Lynne, Jerry Lee Lewis, Los Lonely Boys, Toots Hibbert, Joe Walsh, Ben Harper, Rickie Lee Jones, and Lee Ann Womack. Interestingly, Bob Dylan, who was part of the broadcast, is absent here, though he has top billing on the advert for the DVD that comes in the package. That said, this set is for the hardcore only: the first irritating thing is that the announcer for the evening introduces each guest — sometimes in the middle of a song! While this could have been easily edited, the fact that it was left in for the audio CD is inexcusable. Secondly, the material, while compelling, is rarely executed in such a way. The ease that Haggard and Nelson display with one another is rarely achieved elsewhere. Williams' duet with Nelson on "Overtime" is truly beautiful, and the pair share an affinity for delivering ballads without overstatement. Likewise, Keith Richards' appearance with Nelson on "We Had It All carries with it real authority, and Nelson's own delivery on the tune is stellar and deeply and oddly, Richards' own vocal, despite his limited range, complements Willie's well in a roughshod way. But these are the clear highlights. The rest, with Haggard, Lewis, Kid Rock, and Richards, is just plain embarrassing. This is a mixed bag to be sure, but it's not without some charm. If only the presentation were better.

Customer Reviews

Music is great, but...

an over-exhuberant fan in the audience screeches out at every opportunity.

The musicianship is very entertaining if you can get past the screeching of that one fan. It definitely keeps it off my music rotation. Sad, because I love Willie and almost all the artists on this album. The album is great listening otherwise.


Born: April 30, 1933 in Fort Worth, TX

Genre: Country

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

As a songwriter and a performer, Willie Nelson played a vital role in post-rock & roll country music. Although he didn't become a star until the mid-'70s, Nelson spent the '60s writing songs that became hits for stars like Ray Price ("Night Life"), Patsy Cline ("Crazy"), Faron Young ("Hello Walls"), and Billy Walker ("Funny How Time Slips Away") as well as releasing a series of records on Liberty and RCA that earned him a small but devoted cult following. During the early '70s, Willie aligned himself...
Full Bio