Rick Nelson

Capitol, 2000


REVIEW BY: Pete Crigler


This is the definitive collection of Rick(y) Nelson material, all one could ever possibly need. Compiling every major milestone in his thirty-year career, this box captures the highs and lows of his recording output.

Every single hit the man ever had is here, along with plenty of album cuts and a helpful heaping of previously unreleased tracks. Two of these, “My Rifle, My Pony And Me,” cut with Dean Martin for the soundtrack of my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Rio Bravo, and a compelling take on “The Christmas Song,” are among the most eye-opening tracks here.

Careening chronologically from the teeny pop of “I’m Walkin’” and “Be Bop Baby” to the primal rockabilly pop of “Poor Little Fool” and “Lonesome Town” all the way to country-rock sounds of “Louisiana Man” and his career-defining “Garden Party,” one really gets to hear all the facets of Nelson and it’s clear to see why he was so important in the growing and acceptance of rock and roll as a real genre.

By the time the late ‘60s rolled around, Nelson was no longer a bona fide hit maker, but it really didn’t matter to him because it enabled him to play the type of music he really wanted to play. Listen to the gospel-tinged “Thank You Lord” and the full-on country assault of “Easy To Be Free” to get some of the best representations of this period.

The track listing of this box is absolutely flawless. One can’t really say that any particular tracks are missing here, and that’s the sign of a perfectly put together box. Some box sets from this era only give you the songs the compilers wanted you to hear; this one contains the great like “Gypsy Pilot,” to the truly awful like “Fools Rush In” and everything in between.

Rick Nelson is one of the great unsung heroes of early rock and roll, and this box set is the perfect encapsulation of what made him so great.

Rating: A

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