The greatest concert I’ve ever seen wasn’t The Stones or Springsteen. It was Willie Nelson, that living, breathing Captain America himself. He played three hours of kick-butt music and left without an encore. It was no slight against the audience. Willie had already given us everything he had. To save a little extra for the sake of an encore was artifice, something Willie does not trade in.
That’s abundantly clear in his latest book, Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die, a charming ramble across Willie’s high life (take that any way you want). It’s part memoir of a rocky road toward stardom, part present-day diary, part songbook, and part ode to the road—which, at age 79, he still feels drawn to.
The book is told with humor and great affection for his family and friends. And man, does he have a lot of both. ______ (Fill in the blank) was either a great friend or a great grandchild. Dropped names include Woody Harrelson (poker friend), Bill Cosby (loaned him money when Willie had IRS trouble), Kris Kristofferson-Merle Haggard-Roger Miller (music buddies), and a ton of poker- and dominoes-playing pals he’s snookered for 50 years.
And he loved them all for their loyalty and bawdy sense of humor. Speaking of humor, he’s sprinkled his favorite jokes throughout. Here’s one of the few that I can publish on a family-friendly site:
A drunk fell out of a second-floor window. A guy came running over and asked, “What happened?”
The drunk said,”I don’t know, I just got here.”
Willie may be a reprobate. But unlike that drunk, Willie always knew what was happening. That’s because the action invariably circled around him.