The Winning Hand by Willie Nelson


The Winning Hand is a double album, released in December 1982, featuring Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson, Brenda Lee and Kris Kristofferson. The album consisted largely of unreleased tracks from their years with Monument Records (all four of them had recorded for the label during the mid-1960s). Of the four artists, Kristofferson and Lee contributed new vocals, and a number of the original solo recordings were edited together to create "duets". Despite what might have seemed an opportunistic project, designed to capitalize on the later fame of the performers--Parton's and Nelson's careers were at their commercial peaks in 1982--the album was largely well received by critics upon its release and did well on the country charts.

A single, "Everything's Beautiful" (not to be confused with the Ray Stevens song of the same name), featuring Parton and Nelson, was released and made the country top ten.

Kristofferson's two solo outings, "Here Comes that Rainbow Again" and "The Bandits of Beverly Hills", both had previously been released as singles.

In early 1983, a two-hour variety syndicated television special was aired in celebration of the album with all four stars singing together for the first (and only) time. Johnny Cash hosted the program.