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Willie Nelson – The Troublemaker (1976/2014) [Official Digital Download 24bit/96kHz]

Willie Nelson – The Troublemaker (1976/2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 44:25 minutes | 887 MB | Genre: Country
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks | Front Cover | © Columbia

Released in 1976, The Troublemaker is a gospel album by Willie Nelson and was recorded in February 1973. It was produced by Arif Mardin and it hit #1 on the US Country Albums Chart and #6 on the Billboard 200 chart.

Released in late 1976, at the height of Willie mania, The Troublemaker is Willie Nelson’s first all-gospel album, but country gospel in his hands doesn’t sound like traditional country gospel — it’s a Willie album, through and through, performed with the freewheeling Family as support. Consequently, it’s every bit as wonderfully idiosyncratic as any of his other mid-’70s work and, in some ways, even more so, because inspirational songs and religious material are usually not given arrangements as imaginative and free-spirited as this. Although the album can be divided pretty evenly between ballads and rollicking up-tempo numbers, there is the inherent jazz-like unpredictability in the performances of Nelson and his band that makes even familiar numbers like “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” sound spontaneous. Then again, the choice of material also helps, because that song is the most familiar here; while many of the other numbers are also country gospel standards, they’re not recorded nearly as often as “Circle” and these song choices also give The Troublemaker a unique, fresh feel. Another interesting thing about the album is that the music, not the message, is at the forefront, which is why it doesn’t sound separate from his other mid-’70s peaks. Although it is overshadowed by them both, the sublime subtlety of the performances on The Troublemaker make it sound of a piece with The Red Headed Stranger and Stardust. It may not be nearly as popular as either, but musically, it’s just as satisfying and is one of the quiet highlights in Willie’s vast catalog. –AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine


1. Uncloudy Day 04:39
2. When the Roll Is Called up Yonder 02:43
3. Whispering Hope 05:34
4. There Is a Fountain 03:13
5. Will the Circle Be Unbroken 04:36
6. The Troublemaker 01:50
7. In the Garden 04:08
8. Where the Soul Never Dies 04:13
9. Sweet Bye & Bye 02:38
10. Shall We Gather 03:06
11. Precious Memories 07:33

Willie Nelson – guitar, vocals, arranger
Paul English – drums
Larry Gatlin – guitar, vocals
Jeff Gutcheon – organ
Dee Moeller – vocals
Bobby Nelson – piano
Doug Sahm – fiddle, vocals
Sammi Smith – vocals
Dan Spears – double bass
Jimmy Day – pedal steel guitar


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