By 1976, Willie Nelson was already an icon. Nevertheless, he arguably had but to really uncover himself as an artist able to crafting a legacy. Nineteen albums into his profession, he’d lastly discovered success at Columbia Information by merging his Austin, Texas-honed outlaw methods with a songwriting pen that simply fifteen years prior had written Patsy Cline’s timeless nation ballad “Loopy.” Lastly, nevertheless, an surprising cowl tune that reached the highest of Billboard’s Hit Nation charts in September 1976 allowed Nelson the power to start the method of ascending to his legendary standing.
Following up Purple Headed Stranger — his debut idea album a few fugitive on the run from the legislation after killing his spouse and her lover — can be no straightforward job. His breakout hit on the album was a canopy of Roy Acuff’s 1947 basic “Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain,” which spurred the album on to Billboard High Nation Album chart-topping, and finally, double-platinum promoting success a decade later. Nevertheless, pop-country — the lane whereby Nelson now resided because of his success — was, in that period, a mish-mash of discofied countrypolitan sounds, hard-rocking and whiskey-drenched soulful rock, plus ballads that includes hovering vocal performances that erred within the route of seemingly unrepentant sorrow and heavenly pleasure. For a veteran, surprising nation star whose attraction laid far outdoors of mainstream expectations, discovering one of the simplest ways by appears an unimaginable job.
Associated to Nelson’s success, Lefty Frizzell was a honky-tonk period nation crooner from the radio and barnstorming present tour period. His easy tenor over raucous blues keyed nation as a style, increasing right into a nationwide phenomenon. “If You’ve Bought The Cash” was recorded in 1950, on the preliminary top of Frizzell’s profession. It’s a rollicking jam of a observe with lyrical content material that mirrors however pre-dates nation’s outlaw period. The track’s narrator is a ne’er do properly mate who claims that he gained’t have time for his lover if his lover runs out of cash to spend on him. Sure, it’s an upbeat jam. Nevertheless, if it have been launched within the fashionable period, it’d be deemed intensely problematic.
Nevertheless, 1950 was not 2020. The only stayed at primary for 3 weeks on the chart of Most Performed Nation and Western Jukebox Information, peaked at quantity two on the record of Greatest Promoting Nation and Western recordings, plus general, spent 22 weeks on the nation charts.
Able to double-down on his lastly achieved important success with the album The Sound In Your Thoughts, Nelson set upon making a bluesy/bluegrass hybrid that underpinned his restrained, soulful, and but nonetheless wholly countrified vibe. Apart from protecting Lefty Frizzell’s “If You’ve Bought The Cash, I’ve Bought The Time,” he coated Frankie Laine’s 1949 hit “That Fortunate Outdated Solar,” which in 1953 turned a pop smash for Ray Charles.” Nevertheless, with regard to “If You’ve Bought The Cash, I’ve Bought The Time,” in 1976, Nelson’s model adopted “Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain” to primary on Billboard’s Sizzling Nation Songs chart.
Impressively, his success with Lefty Frizzell’s songs and elegance keyed what in the end turned his legacy. One 12 months later, in 1977, Nelson’s fourth launch for Columbia Information was Willie Nelson: To Lefty from Willie. Legendary rock critic Robert Christgau supplied the next as a review of his takes on Frizzell’s works:
“Though Nelson earned his legend as a songwriter, he’s turning right into a singer now that profit-taking time has come…On this heartfelt, if opportune farewell to Lefty Frizzell, his cracks and creaks and exactly conversational timing maintain their very own in opposition to the extra conventionally beautiful singing of Merle Haggard or Frizzell himself.”
For album quantity 5, 1978’s Stardust, Nelson’s love of Ray Charles — that preceded from the “If You’ve Bought The Cash, I’ve Bought The Time” album The Sound In Your Thoughts’s cowl of “That Fortunate Outdated Solar” proved instrumental. It yielded the then fast-developing icon’s cowl of Charles’ 1960 model of Hoagy Carmichael’s 1930-released American commonplace “Georgia On My Thoughts.” One 12 months after its launch and chart-topping success, “Georgia On My Thoughts” turned Georgia’s official state track on April 24, 1979, when Gov. George Busbee signed it into legislation.
If wanting to grasp Willie Nelson’s attraction as a rustic celebrity, the exact level at which to greatest regard his profession is to review the impression of his cowl of Lefty Frizzell’s “If You’ve Bought The Cash, I’ve Bought The Time.” Being an surprising mixing level for his then previous and current wholly impressed his — and in some ways, nation music’s — future.