How Arthur Smith (cont.) made Willie Nelson

“[In 1975 Willie Nelson] pushed all his chips to the center of the table. The bet was on cowboy mythic, based on the song made popular by Arthur ‘Guitar Boogie’  Smith, the Charlotte, North Carolina, singer and pioneering country music television star in the early 1950s.

“It was the same song Willie used to sing on his radio program on KCNC in Fort Worth when it was nap time for the children listening at home…. Willie would play the song for his daughter, Lana, and say hi to her on the air. At home, she’d have him sing ‘Red Headed Stranger’ to her at bedtime….”

— From “Willie Nelson: An Epic Life” (2008) by Joe Nick Patoski. The concept album “Red Headed Stranger” — sparely produced, widely doubted and hugely successful  —  not only became a career breakthrough for Nelson but also redirected the course of country music for more than a decade.