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4.5 out of 5 stars
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4.5 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 18 March 2006
Basically, the Little Willies are a hony tonk bar band got lucky. I say lucky, but there's nowt lucky about having Norah Jones singing and playing in your band!
So, this bar band looks back to the days of Hank WIlliams and Wetern Swing, chucks in a couple of reasonable originals, bungs out an album which their mums and dads buy, and no-ones the wiser. Apart, of course, from the previousl mentioned Notah Jones factor, which means what should be an easy rolling ride becomes an object of massive media attention. Which puts a very unfair focus on what should be a easy ride. So, I may as well join in and critique the hell out of something which shouldn't be scrutinised to the nthe degree.
The Fred Rose number "Roly Poly" sets out their stall from the off, with a swinging little arrangement and co-vocals from Norah and Richard Julian. The Elvis classic "Love Me" is absolutely fabulous, especially with Norah taking the lead. "It's Not You It's Me" is one of the new tunes, but swings like it's 1933. Kris Kristoffersons song "'Best Of All Possible Worlds" suffers from not being Kris Kristofferson but then who is.
There's a couple of lesser numbers before Norah gets all playful on the Willie Nelson number "Gotta get Drunk" and it is a real blast to see her fooling around and having fun. Later on, they also have a go at "Night Life", but miss the mark that time. "Streets of Baltimore" is a stone cold Tompall Glaser classic and is the most 'country' song here, with Richard Julian taking the lead. To be fair, the album then tails off, bar the rollicking "Tennessee Stud", which is just plain funny. Although I'm sure Lou Reed will be delighted (*cough*) at the closing track, "Lou Reed", which has Richard Julian doing Lou doing country doing bad things to cattle.
"The biggest little bar band in New York" have been playing together since 2003, and this sounds just like it should. A group of friends having fun. Treat it like that rather than the Bible II and you'll have some fun.
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on 6 October 2013
You can read the other fuller reviews which are spot on. My take on this album having just done the ironing to is that you cannot go wrong with anything involving Norah Jones and the bonus here is that other vocals get a go and mixes the whole sound up beautifully. I think the take on Kris Kristofferson's song is tastefully done. Roly Poly opens up on a good feel to treat after treat, so just buy it and enjoy it. Try the Peter Mallick album with NJ on as well.
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on 20 July 2014
Four stars mainly for Norah Jones vocals. Choice of material seems somewhat strange in fact the groups self penned songs are the stand out tracks. Did we really need a reworking of Kristofferson's Best of All Possible Worlds or the done to death Streets of Baltimore. I think the talented Ms Jones and some very good musicians were a little wasted.
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on 4 July 2013
Good musicians working well together, but lacking in a sense of intense purpose and musical direction. Norah towers above the overall standard of the team as a performer, though not necessarily as a player.
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on 15 March 2006
Awaited the delivery of this album with great anticipation. Played it. Thought I'd missed something. Played it again. Nope. I hadn't missed it. It wasn't there in the first place. That vital ingredient. Passion. Soul. Commitment. Call it what you will.
I wonder if any of the band (able musicians all) have ever actually listened to any country music. From the opening limp, bowdlerised "Roly Poly" to "Lou Reed" there's never any indication that any of them have actually connected with the material. Or wanted to, come to that. Here we are, the song is over there, and we'll keep this big chasm in between us, thank you very much. If you don't believe me, than just play The Little Willies' attempt at "Streets of Baltimore" with Gram Parson's version. Then weep at what has been done to music in the intervening 30-odd years.
Competent? Yes. Nice to see someone attempting something a little out of the mainstream? Yes. Making a big wad of cash? Certainly. Doing justice to the material? No way Jose.
Keep your hard-earned in your pocket, until you can find something by the late, great Gram. Or George Jones. Or anyone who is committed to what they are doing, not just treating it as a fashion item.
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on 21 March 2008
Well i've finally got around to buying this album and boy why did i wait so long!! In parts pure western swing as in the opening number "Roly Poly" and sometimes downright "barroom sleazy" enough to make even Tom Waits crack a smile (see track 2 I'll Never Get Out Of This World Alive with a vocal reminiscent of Rodney Crowell circa the "Heartworn Highways" period)this is a pure gem.

As for Nora Jones taking lead vocal on their cover of "Elvis's" "Love Me" (as well as a couple of others) its as much shivers down the back time as the 1st time i saw her on Jools Hollands "Later" doing "Cold Cold Heart"! The overall feel of this album though puts me in mind to watch "Oh Brother Where Art Thou'" again and conjures up Alison Krauss. Ok i'll cut this short as i'm listening to it again while i type and track 4's just started,nice....

PS They also do an excellent cover of "Streets Of Baltimore" and the closer "Lou Reed" just glows with affectionate humour.
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on 20 May 2006
...it is wonderful. For anyone that appreciates talented musicians kicking back, opening beer and having fun, this is for you. Yep, its fun. A word that seems cruely overlooked by many who are unable to simply enjoy albums for what they are. The soundtrack to a sunny day or late night, something to sing along to, whistle, and tap your feet to. Helped of course by having Norah Jones as singer on most tracks, a voice like apple pie and ice-cream. It, and she, is simply resplendant here. I want to father her children!

Great choice of tracks, done well.
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on 21 August 2011
Probably a one off project this is more or less country music which kicks off with a couple of Hank Williams songs.Best version I ever heard of I'll never get out of this world alive.
Love Me follows the Elvis version which was a song first made by Willie & Ruth for one of Leiber/Stoller's early labels
Tennessee Stud the famous Eddy Arnold song first made by Jimmy Driftwood hasn't had that many covers and this is the first boy/girl one
I take it that Willie Nelson who they cover 2 songs by inspired the name
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on 25 February 2006
This is going to be massive, I've heard three tracks. Norah as you have never heard, a group of people who have not laid down Country Music on their own releases, have come together to produce a miracle of sound and fun. The Little Willies are going to be BIG!
And you do not have to an American to like it!
It will prove itself on Release!
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on 29 September 2013
I'd not come across these guys before, was already a fan of Nora Jones. Great album, love every track on it.
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