Ever wonder what Willie Nelson sounded like before he grew a beard? In the Sixties, Nashville didn’t know what to make of this Texan with the conversational singing style, so they buried his idiosyncratic phrasing underneath horns and string sections. Although Nelson’s own records consistently flopped, he did well as a songwriter, penning hits such as Patsy Cline’s “Crazy.” This album collects fifteen demos Nelson made of his songs, hoping to persuade other people to sing them. Half were recorded acoustically, half with a crack band, and all have the relaxed mood of a first take — a casual feel that Nelson would pursue for decades. Without a beard or an audience, the young Nelson had already figured out how to be both sly and sad.