Siblings Willie and Bobbie Nelson have been making music together since their childhood in Abbott, Texas. They learned to play under the tutelage of their grandparents and have been the key figures in Willie’s Family Band since its official formation in 1973.
“December Day” is the inaugural installment in the “Willie’s Stash” archival recording series and features 18 intimate new recordings from Willie and Sister Bobbie. There’s a nice mix of original tunes and covers from artists as varied as Irving Berlin (“Alexander’s Ragtime Band,” “What’ll I Do,” “Always”), Django Reinhardt (“Nuages”), Al Jolson (“The Anniversary Song”) and Ray Evans & Jay Livingston (“Mona Lisa”).
“When it comes to a brother-sister collaboration with the longevity of Willie and Bobie, there is a beauty in keeping things simple,” family Band member Mickey Raphael notes. “We’ve heard these songs before, but not like this. The spontaneity born out of familiarity is what this record is all about. It’s not rocket science, it’s alchemy.”
Among the re-recorded originals, “Permanently Lonely,” “Summer of Roses/December Day,” “Amnesia,” “Who’ll Buy My Memories,” “Walkin’,” and “Sad Songs and Waltzes” are the ones you’ll remember. Good stuff. (Jeffrey Sisk)