John Anderson & Willie Nelson Swingin’ At Farm Aid In The ’80s Is Country Gold

Willie Nelson country music

It’s 1986, summer time in the American south, and John Anderson and his band have locked into a swampy country rock groove… “Swingin’.”

Stacks of Fender amps are flanked by a drum riser, the band is locked and loaded, and Anderson digs into the first verse:

“There’s a little girl in our neighborhood
Her name is Charlotte Johnson
And she’s really lookin’ good
I had to go and see her
So I called her on the phone
I walked over to her house
And this was going on…”

As he gears up to sing the second verse we see smiles coming from the band… the camera pans to stage right, and none other than Mr. Willie Nelson glides onto stage…

Willie, cool as can be, makes his way to a microphone, casually smiling, bobbing his head and patting his thigh to the beat. He’s sporting some cut-off jean shorts, high socks, and cowboy hat… paving the way for the ’90s style we’ve all grown to love.

The song swings onward and the crowd waits in anticipation for Willie to take a verse. Willie however seems content just a groovin’ along. He continues to do so, chiming in on the choruses:

“Just a swingin’
Yeah we were swingin’…”

The sides of the stage are packed, and you can see the audience all having a good time. The crowd out front is largely shirtless, swaying together in the summer heat. The band almost sounds like the Talking Heads performing “Take Me To The River”… perhaps injected with some southern heat and SoCo.

This is Anderson in his prime… his voice smooth, yet packing a punch… a lot like good whiskey. It goes down easy, yet kicks ya in all the right ways.

What I love about Willie in this performance is his contentment just a groovin’ along, singing a little here and there.

The band and Anderson have it under control, and if anything, Willie – along with the crowd – are along for the ride.

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock