It’s a short book – and it’s a lot of fun. An easy thing to flip through, but it really does give you a feel for Willie Nelson, his attitudes, his humour, where he’s at in the world right now. And where’s he (always) been.
There were times when I almost cringed – the cheap jokes and silly stoner ramblings – but this all makes it what it is; not so much the complete picture as a reliable/ish snapshot. Realistic.
Also, how many Willie Nelson albums are really reliable from start to finish – or performances for that matter? He pumps out the material and the best stuff sticks, the bits that fall to floor are driven straight over because Nelson’s usually – erm – on the road again. Working hard. Hardly working.
Roll Me Up And Smoke Me When I Die will sell because of its title and because of the ethos that Nelson has cultivated. But there is a lot of (his) heart in this book. We hear from family members (actual Nelson family members as well as the “extended” family that includes band members and affiliates). And we hear of Nelson’s love of family/”family”. But you’ll also have to put up with some stupid jokes. (Some of them are brilliant, by the way. Puerile and all the better for it).
It’s meandering across its short reading duration – in a good way. An easy book to dip in and out of, to flip across. And if it sends you back to one of those brilliant records, Red Headed Stranger say or Teatro or Spirit – well then, hey, that’s all part of it. Right?