Willie Nelson and the Boys is a collaboration album by Willie Nelson and his sons Lukas and Micah. The release is the second volume of the series Willie's Stash, a collection of archival releases selected by Nelson. The material contained on the album was recorded during the sessions for the 2012 album Heroes. The tracks consist of country standards, featuring seven songs penned by Hank Williams. It was recorded by engineer Steve Chadie at Nelson's Pedernales studio. The release was announced for October 20, 2017.
Bursting with the transcendent sounds of this choir of boys and men coupled with the glorious acoustic of St. Paul's in Harvard Square, every selection on Ave Maria tells a story. Each beautiful and interesting work has its own history. Perhaps none more significant than that of the inspiration for Palestrina's Missa Pappae Marcelli or of the extraordinary depiction of the Magi from the East in 'Reges Tharsis,' on to the vivid and dramatic use of harmony in Bruckner's Virga Jesse. One thing is clear, this beautiful music has a stream of inspiration running clearly throughout. Dvorak and Rachmaninoff are such well-known names, however Rachmaninoff himself called 'Bogoroditse Dyevo' a favorite of his own works. A must have for quintessential boy-choir category in the music collection.
Although a fourth Aynsley Dunbar Retaliation album (Remains to Be Heard) would be cobbled together from outtakes and recordings done without Dunbar, their third LP, To Mum, From Aynsley and the Boys, was truly the final proper full-length release by the original group. Dunbar had expressed some interest in moving further afield from the blues-rock format around the time the record was done, and the addition of keyboardist Tommy Eyre (from the Grease Band) to the lineup was one step in that direction. The enlistment of John Mayall as producer was perhaps another step in attempting to refine their sound. Still, much of To Mum, From Aynsley and the Boys is pretty standard late-'60s British blues-rock, in line with the previous two albums by the band. Eyre does inject some of the arrangements with a jazzy, more R&B feel, particularly on "Leaving Right Away" and the instrumental "Unheard," the latter of which sounds like a rock band trying to do modern jazz and finding themselves a bit out of their depth.
The eighth and ninth studio albums (there was a live recording between them) from the Atlanta Rhythm Section got a belated U.K. CD release in 2010. These closed out the act's affiliation with Polydor Records and are condensed onto a single CD here, as well as digitally remastered. It's another in the classy series of ARS reissues from BGO, which has treated the Southern pop act's catalog with utmost respect on four previous discs that bring the group's original albums back in print for collectors and music fans who want more than the 17 hits on Polydor's well-chosen 1982 vintage Best Of. Liner notes from Campbell Devine tend to be fawning but include a comprehensive history of the band, recounting its story leading up to and even after the recording of these tunes. Musically, ARS captured a unique style halfway between the smooth West Coast pop of the late '70s and the Southern rock of the era.