Stardust: 30th Anniversary Legacy Edition
The "expanded edition" phenomenon of reselling a catalog by adding extra music and fresh liner notes continues with this Willie Nelson classic. But any album that spent a whopping 551 weeks on the Billboard country chart surely deserves the deluxe treatment. Originally released in 1978, the 37-minute collection of 10 American pop standards by Gershwin, Berlin and Hoagy Carmichael, among others, was at the time an unusual and unexpected career move for the outlaw of country singers. Producer Booker T. Jones (of MG's fame) strips these nuggets down to their basics, bringing Nelson's quivering tenor up front in the mix. The low-key results reinvented both Nelson's career and the songs, which were heard by an audience likely unfamiliar with them beforehand. A second disc of 16 similarly themed gems collected from other Nelson albums over the decades justifies the higher price, but the original remains as fresh and timeless as ever. 4 stars.
Willie Nelson plays Chastain Park Amphitheatre with B.B. King Sun., July 27. 7 p.m. $38.50-$90.50. 404-733-5000. www.classicchastain.com.