To observe the second anniversary of the passing of my mother, I wanted to share one of her favorite songs and one of mine from an artist we both loved.
Blue Skies, the Irvin Berlin classic covered by Willie Nelson on his 1978 crossover release of standards, Stardust, reached No. 1 on Billboard's Hot 100 Country Singles in September 1978. What made this cover so remarkable, was Nelson's interpretation. His measured, saturnine delivery enhanced by his trademark nasal vocals and accompanied by Mickey Raphael's weeping, wailing harmonica transformed the upbeat melody into a poignant, wistful ballad. I am convinced it is the best cover of the song ever recorded.
When the album came out, my mom had it on 8-track, and would play it non-stop. I still remember exactly where the songs would fade, change tracks and resume playing.
The second song is one of my all time favorites, Angel Flying To Close To The Ground. An amazing, touching testament to love.
To me all songs are memories, and these will always be bittersweet.
I miss you mom.
Angel Flying To Close To The Ground
Blue Skies- Willie Nelson & Family (Wembley Arena, 198?)
Angel Flying To Close To The Ground- Willie Nelson & Family (Honeysuckle Rose, 1980)