Me and Sister Bobbie: True Tales of the Family Band
Willie Nelson and Bobbie Nelson, with David Ritz.
Random House, $28 (288p) ISBN 978-1-9848-5413-1
Country music legend Willie Nelson and his sister Bobbie invite fans into their lives in this humorous, nostalgic dual memoir. While Willie has told much of his story before (It’s a Long Story: My Life), this is the first time Bobbie has shared her experiences of growing up with Willie. Telling their story in alternating chronological anecdotes, they begin with their childhood in 1930s Abbott, Tex., where they were raised by their grandparents after their parents left them. Willie writes that Mama and Daddy Nelson gave Bobbie and him two gifts that saved their lives: love and music. The siblings performed in their Methodist church (Bobbie played the Hammond organ, with Willie on guitar) as well as at tent meetings. The two worked on farms alongside Black and Latino workers; when they invited their fellow field workers to a church performance, they weren’t welcomed (Bobbie says that “the incident did get me to thinking about challenging conventional church dogma”). Bobbie recalls Willie’s trouble with the IRS for not paying taxes: “Willie was blindsided by the whole thing. He was told he had to declare bankruptcy. But Brother wouldn’t do that because he wasn’t about to burn anyone he owed money to.” Nelson’s many fans will enjoy these cheerful and loving stories. (Sept.)