Ken Tucker
May 30, 2003 AT 04:00 AM EDT

San Antonio Rose

type
Music
Current Status
In Season
performer
Willie Nelson
genre
Reissues

We gave it an A-

Two reissues: 1977’s salute to Lefty Frizzell found Nelson cozying up to country music’s master of melancholy, delivering heartbreakers like ”Always Late” and ”I Never Go Around Mirrors” with deep understanding, but never topping Frizzell’s originals. Rose was Nelson’s 1980 collaboration with the man he used to work for, Ray Price, to give the latter’s career a boost. The two go honky-tonking with a vengeance: Price’s aging baritone and Nelson’s floating tenor meld into aching bliss on pedal-steel-powered tunes such as ”I Fall to Pieces” and ”Crazy Arms.” Now we want Columbia/Legacy to rerelease Nelson’s finest reputation-restoration job, his Webb Pierce duet album, In the Jailhouse Now. To Lefty: B+ San Antonio Rose: A-

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