Willie Nelson, 'Pretty Paper' (1979)
In 1963, when he was still an aspiring songwriter, Nelson penned the tenderly ironic "Pretty Paper," which became a hit for Roy Orbison. Sixteen years later, his own in-the-cut version of the song foregrounded Nelson's first album of traditional Christmas music. As on Stardust, his brilliant 1975 album of classic covers, Nelson's laidback readings and gentle guitar work make for refined yet comfy renditions. This is a record you put on when your relatives have all mercifully gone home and you can finally sit back in your favorite chair and slowly get loaded on Old Overholt while you watch football with the sound off. If you time it so you pass out while the album-ending instrumental "Christmas Blues" is rolling by, you may get lucky and sleep 'til New Year's Eve.
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