Steve Ditlea

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Last Updated on June 7, 2022, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 186

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With this flawless album [Shotgun Willie], Willie Nelson finally demonstrates why he has for so long been regarded as a C&W singer-songwriter's singer-songwriter….

There is more to Willie Nelson than the "weepers" for which he is justly known, though nearly half of the songs on this record feature his gift for turning everyday imagery into eloquent expressions of grief and sorrow. "My oatmeal tastes just like confetti," he begins in "So Much to Do" and I immediately feel the disorientation caused by parting. From the satiric undertone of "Sad Songs and Waltzes (Aren't Sellin' This Year)" to the resignation of "She's Not for You," by way of the rhythmic "Local Memory" and the languorous "Slow Down Old World," Nelson uses a varied palette to portray the faces of love gone bad.

Nelson also proves to be a witty caricaturist. "Shotgun Willie" … touches on the agony of impending deadlines, as well as the comic misadventures of an acquaintance who belonged to the KKK.

Steve Ditlea, "Records: 'Shotgun Willie'," in Rolling Stone (by Straight Arrow Publishers, Inc. © 1973; all rights reserved; reprinted by permission), Issue 142, August 30, 1973, p. 80.

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