Thursday, June 3, 2010

From The Library: The Facts of Life and Other Dirty Jokes by Willie Nelson

We’re not just about listening to music around these parts. Oh no. We also love to read about it, because we’re just nerdy like that. I’m particularly fond of biographies and autobiographies, because I’m a wee bit nosy. So it was that after steamrolling through several British murder mysteries, I found myself in need of something a little lighter, a little more down home, a little more amusing. Naturally, then, I reached for my (first edition, of course) copy of Willie Nelson’s pseudo-autobiography, amusingly entitled The Facts of Life and Other Dirty Jokes.

I knew this was a good decision pretty much right away. Holding the book in my hands, I was confronted with a current (as of 2002) photo of Willie on the front cover, and a youthful, mischievous scamp of a Willie on the back cover. The naughty twinkle in his eyes is still there, and that augured well for the contents within. Willie writes in a casual, free flowing style not that far removed from the late great Johnny Cash. There’s no real rhyme or reason to Willie’s ramblings, and as far as I’m concerned that’s a good thing. The man is not only a musical legend, but a font of wisdom (and dirty jokes) as well. Even the introductory paragraph is worth a giggle, as Willie warns preteens to “read every third word” only, given the amount of bad words and somewhat scandalous jokes.

The book, which according to Willie is “one-part song lyrics, one-part photographs, and ten-parts bullshit,” is totally engrossing. I couldn’t put it down, not even to keep an eye on my beloved Nationals as they took on Willie’s hometown’s local(ish) team, the Houston Astros. Much like his gift for spinning a yarn with his lyrics, so too can Willie keep your attention with the pen as well. His tales are interspersed with plenty of song lyrics and a cache of family photos to give you plenty of Nelson for your buck. From childhood in small town Texas to the first song he learned to life on the road to what to do when a bee stings you, you’ll get a little bit of everything.

Willie’s tome is without question the funniest read I’ve had in quite some time, and it’s a great insight into the mind of one of country’s best musicians and songsmiths. If you’re hankering for a good, quick, hilarious piece of literature, you could do a lot worse. Highly (no pun intended) recommended.

mp3: On The Road Again (Willie Nelson from Honeysuckle Rose)

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