Willie Nelson

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What A Wonderful World
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Please Come Home For Christmas
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Christmas Blues
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Winter Wonderland
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Blue Christmas
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Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer
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Jingle Bells
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O Little Town Of Bethlehem
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A Dreamer's Holiday
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Away In A Manger
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Here Comes Santa Claus
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Niño
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Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
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White Christmas
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Silent Night
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Deck The Halls
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Amazing Grace
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Pretty Paper
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Frosty The Snowman
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Merry Christmas Baby
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What A Merry Christmas This Could Be
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Christmas Duets & Collaborations
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Kenny Chesney, Willie Nelson - Pretty Paper
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Christmas Music Playlists with Willie Nelson Songs

Perfect For When Santa Is On The Road Again

Country music stars don't get much bigger than Willie Nelson, a singer/songwriter who has gone in and out of fashion more times than some people change their socks. With a career that stretches back to the fifties Nelson has had plenty of opportunities to turn his hand to Christmas music, something that he has done occasionally and with aplomb. Perhaps his Christmas catalogue is lighter than you'd expect but then he was one of the leaders of the Outlaw Country movement in the 1970's so he had an image to maintain! Before he flung himself head first into the season Willie tested the water with what would become Roy Orbison’s most famous Christmas song.

Penned by Nelson and hugely successful for Orbison on its release in 1963 'Pretty Paper' would later become the title of Willie's debut Christmas album. Willie would also go on to release ‘Pretty Paper’ as a single in 1964. Orbison’s pretty paper still turns up on contemporary Christmas compilations and it is easy to see the attraction such are its cutesy lyrics. Nelson would bring 'Pretty Paper' back to life in the new century when he and Kenny Chesney duetted on Chesney's 2004 album 'All I Want for Christmas Is a Real Good Tan'. Quite coincidentally Chris Isaak also recorded a version of 'Pretty Paper' for the 2004 Christmas season. Willie's next winter recording would appear on his otherwise non-festive LP 'Good Times' in 1969. 'December Day' may not be completely focused on festive matters, more a paean to the summer months but anything that belongs in a month that houses Christmas is something that belongs on your stereo over the 12 days.

'Pretty Paper', the album, was released in 1979 and apart from Willie's version of the title track and an instrumental he co-wrote with Booker T. Jones called 'Christmas Blues' this was a work of well-known standards fashioned in the country legend's likeness. All the usual favourites were accounted for such as 'Santa Claus Is Coming to Town', 'Little Town of Bethlehem' and 'Winter Wonderland' which for some might be a disappointment but Nelson always brings something new to the table, casting songs that are woven into the Christmas experience in a new light. In the case of 'Jingle Bells' Willie tinkered with James Pierpont's classic original arrangements, giving it an acoustic dimension without ever taking the wind out of its considerable sails.

Willie Nelson would record his second Christmas album in 1997 with his sister Bobbie. 'Hill Country Christmas' was another relaxed affair just like its predecessor that pulled no major surprises in its song choices, as well as including the omnipresent 'Pretty Paper'. With Nelson providing the guitar parts and Bobbie the piano keys this is a rarely heard yet enjoyable Christmas treat. While the majority of songs are well known such as 'Hark! The Herald Angels Sing', 'Silent Night' and 'Deck The Halls’ each take is uniquely Willie's own making. The quirkiest moment comes on a version of Gene Autry's 'Here Comes Santa Claus' which appears to have been the original Autry recording with Willie's tuneful interjections dubbed over it.

In 2003 Willie proved what a generous soul he was by contributing a low key version of 'Please Come Home for Christmas' for the Special Olympics Christmas offering 'A Very Special Acoustic Christmas'. Like many of the other compilations in this series this was another winner that prided itself in ushering in great new Christmas numbers with the proceeds all going to its chosen charity. With Willie doing a Johnny Cash and releasing an album that featured the best 'American Classic's in 2010 we were heartened to see him enlist Norah Jones for a typically bolshie version of Frank Loesser's 'Baby, It's Cold Outside'. Despite this song being covered literally hundreds of times over the years you know with performers as talented as these two that this was always going to be a winner.

In 2012 'The Classic Christmas Album' rounded up the best bits from Willie's festive roster including songs from his 'Pretty Paper' and 'Hill Country Christmas' with his sister Bobbie. There are also some odd inclusions including 'A Dreamers Holiday' which appears to have been written about summer vacations rather than their winter counterparts. Louis Armstrong's 'What a Wonderful World' is also included, which again is hardly fireside material but given the undoubted good spirits it invokes it would take a hard heart to eject from your tinselled up stereo.

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