Willie Nelson’s Yesterday’s Wine: one of his best loved works

15th March 2016

Title: Yesterday’s Wine
Label: Speakers Corner

One of his best loved works. From 1971, Nelson mulls overs wide ranging subjects from God, love and ageing which could, if you squinted a little bit, be seen as almost autobiographical. As if they were elements from the life of Nelson himself. But that’s conjecture.

What we do know from the chatter at the beginning of this LP is that we are hearing from the ‘imperfect man’. A man who lives his life and who follows the ‘perfect man’ or Jesus Christ. So this is a themed of concept piece then? Well, not really, although there is a rough storyline that does pass through it. More than that, there is a sense of calm here that gives the LP a contemplative air. There’s also a dependance upon a religious aspect that infused the record with titles such as Family Bible and Me and Paul that are stand-out examples of Nelson’s song-writing abilities.

In audiophile terms, the master has a sparse, precise edge that effectively tracks the Nelson, edgy vocal delivery. This vocal trait blends well with the slow, reverb-laden bass beat on the track, Let Me Be A Man.

For In God’s Eyes, Nelson relaxes his voice so that the ear picks up more textural nuance in the delivery that enhances the lyrics with greater emotion. And it is Nelson’s voice which retains the star status through the album because the backing instruments remain pushed into the rear of the mix while the soundstage tends to soften their approach to lay a soft silken blanket over them giving them less prominence. It is in this manner that Nelson remains the focal point for the ear and his personal lyrically presentation.

This is an album of introspection, Nelson muses and contemplates and broods and considers the human condition. The master and the pressing helps the album to retain the intensely personal nature of the music.