The Willie Nelson Special, with Special Guest Ray Charles (1985/2009)

by | Sep 22, 2009 | DVD & Blu-ray Video Reviews | 0 comments

The Willie Nelson Special, with Special Guest Ray Charles (1985/2009)

Studio: Eagle Eye Media EE 39187-9 [Release date: Sept. 22, 09]
Video: 4:3 color
Audio: DTS 5.1, DD 5.1, PCM stereo
Extras: Part of concert
Length: 60 minutes
Rating: *****

There are not many famous music performers who have spanned such a wide range of genres as Ray Charles and Willie Nelson – the first coming from soul music and the second from country music.  This is a terrific informal concert held in 1985 at  what seems to be the rather intimate Austin Opry House, and it should be a prime view for any fan of Willie or Ray. The concert intersperses a little video tour of Nelson’s home town, exploring his roots.  The humor and comraderie between the two performers, especially during their duet on Seven Spanish Angels – one of five duets on the disc – is a pleasure to see. And speaking of seeing, Willie describes his visit to Ray’s hotel to play chess, and says “Next time I’ll want to have the lights on.”

Ray only appears during the first half of the program, but Nelson provides plenty of his own famous tunes, delivered in his easy-going, distinctive manner and accompanied by his beat-up old guitar with the huge hole in the front where he’s worn right thru the wood with his enthusiastic pluckin.’  Willie seems even more relaxed than usual.  The band – made up of players from both singers’ own bands – is the best, with some good duets from Willie’s guitarist Jackie King. The image is fine, though not of course 16:9, and the DTS surround sound makes you feel like you’re right there experiencing an hour with these two great American treasures.


On the Road Again, Always on my Mind; DUETS: Angel Eyes, Seven Spanish Angels, I Can’t Stop Loving You, Georgia on my Mind, Mountain Dew;
My Window Faces South, There Will Never Be Another You, To All the Girls I’ve Love Before, Without a Song, Who’ll Buy my Memories, Whiskey River.

 – John Henry

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