Willie Nelson in concert singing the song that he sang in a Texas court this week
Good news this week for Willie Nelson, his fans, and for those who agree that there are already way too many people overcrowding US jails as a result of sentencing for possession of marijuana for personal use. The 77 year old country music legend and longtime weed activist was arrested in Texas after crossing the border from Mexico last November when his tour bus was stopped and police found weed in Nelson's possession. He could have faced a lengthy jail term, but luckily for him, this week Texas prosecutor and Hudspeth County attorney Kit Bramblett presented a favorable deal when he said, "I’m gonna let him plead [guilty], pay a small fine and he’s gotta sing “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain” with his guitar right there in the courtroom." Obviously a fan of Nelson's music, he added, "You bet your ass I ain’t gonna be mean to Willie Nelson." County Judge Becky Walker agreed to the deal as did, not surprisingly, Nelson, who, as a longtime open advocate of legalizing pot, is co-chair of the advisory board of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML).
The agreement is not unique or new since oft times judges sentence musicians to community service that taps into their skills rather than jail time. Other instances include when Keith Richards long ago was busted in Toronto and instead of a sentence he was made to do a concert for the blind. The song "Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain" -- a hit for Nelson and a longtime favorite with fans -- can be found on several different albums by the artist including Red Headed Stranger (the 1975 album that it first appeared on and has since been reissued), The Essential Willie Nelson, Willie Nelson's Greatest Hits (& Some That Will Be), Willie Nelson & Friends, Stars & Guitars, and (as a duet with Shania Twain) on Willie Nelson & Friends: Live & Kickin', released in celebration of Nelson's 70th birthday in 2003, on both CD and DVD formats.