Following six years after their first album as the Little Willies, this second album was worth the wait. Norah Jones is the main vocalist, but Richard Julian sometimes joins her as duet partner, and he also gets to sing solo occasionally.
While most of these songs are covers, they aren't always the obvious classics that everybody knows. I worship you (Ralph Stanley) and Diesel smoke dangerous curves (a minor country hit for Red Simpson).are far from obvious choices, but they deserve their inclusion.
The ensemble took their name from Willie Nelson, and the song selection shows his influence as he wrote and recorded Permanently lonely, and also had huge country hits with If you've got the money I've got the time (originally a #1 country hit for Lefty Frizzell, it also became a #1 country hit for Willie Nelson) and Remember me (a #2 country hit for Willie Nelson). I think Willie also recorded For the good times, though the song is associated with other singers - Kris Kristofferson (who wrote and first recorded it), Ray Price (who had the country hit) and Perry Como (who had the pop hit).
The other famous songs here are Lovesick blues (originally recorded by Elsie Clark in the 1920's, but more commonly identified with Hank Williams and also a sixties #1 pop hit in Britain for Frank Ifield), Jolene (the Dolly Parton classic) and Fist city (one of Loretta Lynn's major country hits of the sixties).
Wide open road is an early Johnny Cash song, though it was not one of his hits. Nevertheless, it will be familiar to most fans of Johnny Cash.
Foul owl on the prowl doesn't really belong here, but I like it anyway. I'd never heard the song before buying this album, although I recognize the songwriters (A and M Bergman with Quincy Jones).
This album won't suit everybody (and if you've heard Norah's solo albums but nothing by the Little Willies, this will come as shock) but to my ears, this is a most enjoyable album.