Anyone who knows me knows how much love I have for Willie Nelson. I’ve read every book he’s written, so when I had a chance to read his upcoming release via NetGalley I jumped at the chance.
Paul English was Willie’s long-time friend and drummer. For sixty-five years they shared a friendship that went beyond the bounds of friends and crossed over into brotherhood.
I loved every facet of this story, from their first meeting until Paul drew his last breath.
He was a steady force behind Willie Nelson and a fearless supporter of his talent as a songwriter and performer. He believed in Willie when Willie lost faith in himself. He understood Willie’s off-sync timing and had no trouble following him. That alone was enough to endear Paul to Willie, but as their lives intertwined and the story unfolded, it was only the beginning.
The stories shared between the pages of this book took me on a journey from Fort Worth’s rough and rowdy side to New York Times Square and all points in between. Paul had a history of, and habit of, walking just a little outside the law. But despite his shady background, he proved to be a driving force. He loved numbers and was the accountant for the band. He never hesitated to take whatever action necessary when a shifty promoter tried to stiff them.
“Paul knew everyone and everyone knew Paul,” said Willie.
Paul took on the persona of the devil, dressing in all black, wearing a black cape lined with red silk, black Stetson, and red cowboy boots. But in Willie’s words, “that persona couldn’t have been farther from the truth.’
With a heart of gold, Paul never hesitated to step in and intercede for the underdog.
So many stories are told in this book that I’d love to relate to you, but I won’t. I will simply tell you that behind every successful man, there is a true supporter. In the case of Willie Nelson, that was Paul English. Willie said they fit perfectly together like a pistol and a holster. Paul was steady while Willie could be unsteady. Paul was a genius with numbers and a sure shot with a .45. Everyone who knew him respected and admired him.
He passed away on February 11, 2020, at the age of 87. He had been Willie’s closest confidant for over sixty-five years. This book is a fitting tribute to the man, sharing the highs and lows of his life. If you follow Willie Nelson’s music, this book is a must-read for you. I highly recommend it. It is told in Willie’s easy style of communicating, simple with no frills, but filled with heart and soul.
This book is set to release on September 20, 2022. And even though I’ve read it, I will have a hardcover copy on my bookshelf. It is priceless!
I had the opportunity to meet Paul and to spend time listening to him and my late husband talk on several occasions. His sense of humor and love for Willie Nelson came through in the stories he shared.