February 21, 1994 12:00 PM

Willie Nelson

Billed as the follow-up to 1978’s Stardust, this is, in fact, the fourth album of pre-rock standards that Nelson has cut since Stardust. Rather than a sequel, Moonlight Becomes You is the latest installment in a miniseries: Willie’s stripped-down versions of Tin Pan Alley classics. Problem is, Willie may be runnin’ out of chestnuts. Stardust triumphed in part because ever)’ song was a flawless classic. These tunes are mostly second-tier standards, and only a few—like “Please Don’t Talk About Me When I’m Gone” or “The World Is Waiting for the Sunrise”—would have made it on to Stardust.

But Willie, as usual, throws us a curve. The best thing here isn’t from Tin Pan Alley, it’s a new version of his own haunting “December Day,” which simply underscores the fact that Nelson’s best songs are fully on a par with the classics he loves. The suggested strategy for buying his records? Get ’em all. You’ll probably stub your toe on a gem. (Justice)

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