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Great cover with Ray Benson...classic country personality

Great guy and classic cover.....if you ever get lost and forget what Country Music is all about..go listen to Willie & The's a good review from the Dallas Morning News...'


Ray Benson considers himself a lucky man. Not only has he had a steady job for 39 years as the co-founder

and leader of Austin's Western swing band Asleep at the Wheel, but he also got to work with the late,

legendary record producer Jerry Wexler and buddy Willie Nelson on Willie and the Wheel.

Willie and the Wheel, released in February on Benson's Bismeaux Records, is a timeless concept album that

takes Nelson back to his roots and fulfills Wexler's longtime promise to helm a disc featuring classic

Western swing tunes such as "Bring It on Down to My House" and "I Ain't Gonna Give Nobody None O'

This Jelly Roll."

Wexler, the R&B industry pioneer who nurtured influential artists such as Aretha Franklin and Ray Charles,

signed Nelson to Atlantic Records in the early '70s. The idea behind Willie and the Wheel was born then.

"Wexler and I had become friends over the years and when he called me about this thing he said, 'Now is

the time to do that album I had been wanting to do for 35 years,' " Benson says by phone from a Wheel tour

stop in Rochester, N.Y. "I was so honored. He mentioned all these songs. It was really amazing. I feel so

blessed that Jerry thought of me.

"Twenty-five years ago or 30 years ago, I would not have been prepared to make this album. I would have

loved to, but I wouldn't have had the experience to do it. It was time for it."

Benson produced Willie and the Wheel with Wexler as the project's executive producer. The CD, which

features guest musicians Paul Shaffer and Vince Gill, was recorded in Austin. Benson communicated with

Wexler, who died in August 2008 at his Sarasota, Fla., home, as the recording was completed.

"We finished it about a week before he died," says Benson, 58. "I sent him seven of the cuts that were pretty

much finished. They weren't mastered, but they were pretty much finished. I would send him the songs, and

he would tell me that I could put horns on some of these things.

"He got to hear seven of the final cuts, and he said it was perfect. He loved what I was doing. He was totally

coherent and together until the week that he died. That was a blessing."


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