There’s only one country artist on planet earth who could successfully make a quality reggae album, and of course, it’s the one and only Willie Nelson.
On this date in 2005, Lost Highway Records released Willie’s reggae album, Countryman, which was his 53rd studio album. The record was 10 years in the making, as he originally started working on it in 1995.
And it seems like reggae fans quite enjoyed Willie’s dabbling in the genre, as it peaked at #1 on the U.S. Billboard Top Reggae Albums chart, as well as #6 on the U.S. Billboard Top Country Albums chart.
There’s one song in particular, though, that you may recognize on the tracklist, and that would be Willie’s reimagined version of Johnny Cash’s “I’m a Worried Man.” It was originally a co-write by Johnny and his wife June Carter Cash, and was first included on Johnny’s 1974 47th studio album Ragged Old Flag.
Willie’s version featured the late Toots Hibbert, who was a Jamaican singer/songwriter, reggae pioneer, and the lead vocalist for the reggae and ska band Toots and the Maytals.
I mean, you cannot listen to this song and not wanna be sitting on the beach with a piña colada…
And funny enough, the cover art for the record featured a drawing of a marijuana plant, but was changed for Walmart stores, where the artwork became a palm tree.
And I don’t know, it is a far cry from Johnny’s original, but it just works.