Live At Budokan captures Willie Nelson and Family's Historic 1984 Tokyo concert and will be released on CD and DVD in November. We have a special premiere performance from the release.
It's safe to say we're Willie Nelson fans at C&I. Over the years we've featured him on covers, made birthday playlists to honor him, and even recommended his memorable roles in TV westerns. The man is a touchstone — a musical companion who's there whenever you need to find strength, remember the good times, comfort yourself in the bad ones, or simply party hearty.
We can't think of a more touching Nelson tune than "Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground." It was originally written and recorded for his 1980 movie Honeysuckle Rose but quickly rose to "classic" status thanks to an undeniable melody and heartbreaking lyric.
Who doesn't feel the pang of loss when Willie gets to that crescendo chorus line, "So leave me if you need to/I will still remember/angel flying too close to the ground"?
The song has been covered by artists of all stripes, but Willie still sings it best. He and his legendary Family band performed "Angel" and many other beloved tunes at a historic Tokyo concert at the famous Nippon Budokan arena in 1984. That concert put Willie and Family in front of a whole new audience. It was available in Japan for many years on a LaserDisc, but U.S. fans never saw an official release of it ... until now.
Legacy Recordings will put out Willie Nelson Live at Budokan November 18 via digital, CD, and DVD. There'll also be a vinyl version available at Record Store Day events around the country on November 25 (Black Friday).
Exclusive track and video premiere
The folks at Legacy were nice enough to offer C&I readers a sneak peek of Nelson's "Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground" performance from the live release. Hit play below and let it stir something up in your consciousness this morning. Read below the video for more on Willie Nelson Live at Budokan from Legacy.
Produced by Willie's longtime harmonica player Mickey Raphael (whose production credits include Naked Willie and The Highwaymen box set) and mixed by Tony Castle, Willie Nelson Live At Budokan has been sonically upgraded to showcase the American pop-country icon and his ensemble in Tokyo for the first time, connecting with an audience of Japanese and ex-pat fans through the universal power, truth and beauty of the music in Willie's repertoire.
Willie's ensemble that night (February 23, 1984) featured his sister Bobbie Nelson on piano, Paul English on drums, Grady Martin on guitar, Jody Payne on vocals and guitar, Bee Spears on bass and Mickey Raphael on harmonica. The new production and mix of Willie Nelson Live At Budokan offers fans a front row seat at one of Willie's most exciting shows during an historic period in his career.
(Photo by William Hanes)