Willie Nelson & 'Austin City Limits'-A Video Sampler

Wednesday, 30 April 2014 06:15 AM Written by 

Willie Nelson has just be inducted into the Austin City Limits Hall of Fame, along with the late blues rock guitar wizard Stevie Ray Vaughn, producer Bill Arhos and Darrell Royal, coach of the University of Texas Longhorns and a longtime friend of Texas music.  40 years ago, when Austin was just emerging as a major music center and things like SXSW were long in the future, a new music program titled Austin City Limits debuted. Seen on PBS stations, it presented, in the beginning, a mixture of country, rock, blues and roots music, much of it focused on musicians based in the region. Over time it opened up to a far wider variety of music and today stands as American TV's longest running music series.  This is a sampling of Willie's ACL appearances starting at the beginning.


Pilot Episode, singing "Bloody Mary Morning" (from his Phases & Stages album) with his band at the time, some of them still with him today.  There's Mickey Raphael (harmonica), sister Bobbie Nelson (piano), the late Bee Spears on bass, guitarist Jody Payne and drummer Paul English.  This was taped before he had his big 1975 success with The Red Headed Stranger concept album and his first big hit: "Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain."


Early 80's (probably 1982)

"Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain."



Guesting with Roger Miller of "King Of The Road" fame, singing "Old Friends."  Roger and Willie were part of the same generation of Nashville composers, along with Hank Cochran and Harlan Howard.



With singer-songwriter Freddie Powers and Merle Haggard. The emphasis here is as much on picking as singing. The song: "It Makes No Difference Now," a honky-tonk standard by Texas country icon Floyd Tillman, introduced from the audience. The hot electric mandolinist is former Texas Playboy Tiny Moore, the hot fiddler Jimmy Belkin from Haggard's band.  As a songwriter Tillman influenced Willie, Haggard and Powers.


September 22, 1996:

"Too Sick To Pray" Billy Joe Shaver, a guest on the show, sits at the right.



With Asleep At The Wheel. The song: "Oh You Pretty Woman," a 1930's tune from their Willie & The Wheel western swing album.



Join the conversation:

To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to socialmedia@post-gazette.com and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner. Thank you.