Album Info

Columbia Special Products
Country, Outlaw Country, Progressive Country, Country-Pop, Nashville Sound/Countrypolitan, Singer/Songwriter, Rockabilly, Traditional Country, Rock & Roll

Album Review

In 1982, Willie Nelson, at a commercial peak, was recording prolifically, releasing albums not only under his own name alone, but also in duos with other artists. Still, this record was more expansive than most, a double LP featuring Nelson, Dolly Parton, Brenda Lee, and Kris Kristofferson in solo performances and in duets. The genesis of the unusual project may have been Nelson and Parton's debt of gratitude to Monument Records and its founder, Fred Foster. The label had fallen on hard times lately, and The Winning Hand seems to have been an attempt to reactivate it. Kristofferson had recorded for Monument since 1970 (and his two solo selections on the album, "Here Comes That Rainbow Again" and "The Bandits of Beverly Hills," had been released as a single the year before). Lee had no association with Monument, but must have welcomed the opportunity to record with currently bigger stars like Nelson. The result is a typically mixed collection of remade oldies and new songs. Going with the two big stars, Monument released Parton and Nelson's rendition of Parton's "Everything's Beautiful" and was rewarded with a Top Ten country hit. Lee and Nelson's "You're Gonna Love Yourself (In the Morning)" was also a country chart entry. Other highlights include Kristofferson's "Here Comes That Rainbow Again" (a musicalization of a passage in The Grapes of Wrath), Kristofferson and Lee's remake of his 1978 song "The Bigger the Fool, the Harder the Fall," Nelson and Kristofferson's remake of Nelson's 1967 song "To Make a Long Story Short, She's Gone," and Nelson's "King of a Lonely Castle." [When The Winning Hand was released originally as a double LP running only an hour, it was something of a ripoff for the money; since reissued as a single budget-priced CD, it's now a bargain.]
William Ruhlmann, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. You're Gonna Love Yourself (In the Morning)
  2. Ping Pong
  3. You'll Always Have Someone
  4. Here Comes That Rainbow Again
  5. The Bigger the Fool, the Harder the Fall
  6. Help Me Make It Through the Night
  7. Happy, Happy Birthday Baby
  8. You Left Me a Long, Long Time Ago
  9. To Make a Long Story Short (She's Gone)
  10. Someone Loves You Honey
  11. Everything's Beautiful (In Its Own Way)
  12. Bring on the Sunshine
  13. Put If Off Until Tomorrow
  14. I Never Cared for You
  15. Casey's Last Ride
  16. King of a Lonely Castle
  17. The Little Things
  18. The Bandits of Beverly Hills
  19. What Do You Think About Lovin'
  20. Born to Love Me