It’s kinda interesting that Willie’s two records for Atlantic (and only releases for that label) are always in the mix when discussing his best work. And many would argue that 1974’s “Phases And Stages”, as well as 1973’s “Shotgun Willie”, are his two best albums. But while critical plaudits ran-and run-extremely high, neither record sold very well at the time. And Atlantic dropped him, Columbia signed him and his next record was “Red-Headed Stranger”. Take that, Atlantic.

In regards to “Phases…”, a somewhat contemporary analogy could be found in Beck’s “Sea Change”. That’s right, this is Willie’s bummed-out break-up record. Musically, nowhere near as somber as one would or could expect from a concept album that chronicles the dissolution of a marriage (and one in which both versions of the story are told – side one from the her perspective, side two from his). But if you like to listen to words, not even a full-blown Willie honky-tonk number could keep you from crying in your beer. Do NOT listen to this record directly after splitting from your significant other. Highly un-recommended.

A bit of name-dropping…produced by the legendary Jerry Wexler, mixed by the legendary Tom Dowd, played by the legendary Muscle Shoals Swampers. And the legendary Johnny Gimble. Oh, and Willie.

Sealed and $40. And just to clarify, anything that looks like wear is relegated to the shrink, not the jacket.