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Cherry Pop

Title - 'Stardust: 30th Anniversary Legacy Edition'
Artist - Willie Nelson

This album proved once and for all that Willie Nelson was a great singer, not just a good country western singer. By reviving these great hits from the past, Willie Nelson revived his own career back in the Eighties. The title track, "Stardust," and "Georgia On My Mind," are sung the way Hoagie Carmichael intended them to be sung. Every song on this album is a masterpiece.

And so Columbia/Legacy's 30th anniversary edition of 'Stardust' includes a second CD of sixteen additional standards waxed by Nelson between 1976's "The Sound in Your Mind" and 1990's "Born For Trouble." Drawn from across fifteen years, there's more variety and less cohesion between the arrangements, which makes disc two less an album and more an opportunity to hear Nelson's evolving creativity.

Few of these tracks measure up to the inspiration of the original 'Stardust,' but there are highlights, including a gypsy-jazz country-blue version of "I'm Confessin' (That I Love You)," a downbeat, pre-Stardust take of "Lucky Old Sun," and a romantically yearning cover of "Mona Lisa" that features guitar runs reminiscent of Anton Karas' zither in "The Third Man."

Completists should note that neither of the bonus tracks from the 1999 'Stardust' reissue ("Scarlet Ribbons" and "I Can See Clearly Now") are included here. New liner notes from Rich Kienzle are worth reading, but with the original album a five-star release on its own, it's really difficult to make improvements.