Featuring recordings under Nelson’s leadership as well as tracks on which he is a producer, guest musician, or songwriter, the collection represents Nelson’s enormous output and collaboration with various musicians. The oldest recordings are two 45s by Dave Isbell from 1954, on which Nelson plays guitar, released by Sarg Records, a small label from Luling, Texas. The collection also contains Nelson’s first single released under his own name, “No Place for Me” backed with “Lumberjack,” recorded in Vancouver, Washington, while Nelson was working as a disc jockey.
Also included are deluxe-edition CDs of Nelson’s classic albums as well as box sets with extensive liner notes, recording and session information, and previously unreleased performances. There are also live recordings, including a DVD documentary on Willie’s 4th of July Picnic in 1974—a carnival-like affair emceed by Leon Russell with performances by Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Jerry Jeff Walker, and others.
With this new acquisition, the Wittliff Collections become the nation’s primary repository of Willie Nelson materials. See the A-Z Guide in the Research section at www.thewittliffcollections.txstate.edu for details. Much of Nelson’s early discography is on the original vinyl records, and these as well as the other recordings can be enjoyed in the Wittliff’s reading room. Everyone is invited to come and listen.