“Pretty Paper” By Willie Nelson

Pretty Paper29496566
By: Willie Nelson w/ David Ritz
Narrated by: W. Brown,
Length: 5 hrs and 39 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release date: 10-25-16
Language: English
Publisher: Penguin Audio

What seems like may be a Christmas story, is actually a heartwarming story about the man that Willie Nelson wrote the song Pretty Paper about. (Yes, I know Roy Orbison recorded it, but Willie wrote it.)

The song is written about a man with no legs selling wrapping paper and ribbons outside a department story during the Christmas Season. That’s pretty much where the true story ends. Willie takes this beginning and creates a story about how Vernon Clay was a musician and lost it all and ended up hawking his wares in the snow, on a wheeled cart.
In 2013, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram identified the real subject of the song as Frankie Brierton, of Santo, Texas. Brierton refused to use a wheelchair, choosing instead to crawl, as he learned to move while growing up after his legs were affected by a spinal disorder. Brierton sold pencils in Fort Worth, Dallas and Houston.  Brierton died in 1973 without ever knowing the song was written about him.  Also Brierton did not have the music career that Vernon Clay has in this book.

The narrator W. Carl Brown delivers the book as if he lived in Texas at the time, his voice captures all the characters and emotions involved perfectly.

Great emotional run on this one.   Don’t miss it.


Publisher’s Summary
Willie Nelson, country music’s quintessential musician, displays all the wit and warmth of his homespun style of storytelling in an inspiring holiday novel based on his classic Christmas song, “Pretty Paper”.

More than 50 years ago, Willie Nelson’s beloved Christmas song, “Pretty Paper”, first hit the airwaves. And for all these years, Willie has wondered about the real-life Texas street vendor, selling wrappings and ribbons, who inspired his song. Who was this poor soul? What did his painful trials say about our loves, our hopes, our dreams in this holiday season – and in the rest of our lives?

It’s the early ’60s, and Willie Nelson is down and out, barely eking out a living as a singer-songwriter. The week before Christmas, he spots a legless man on a cart, selling wares in front of Leonard’s Department Store in Fort Worth, Texas. The humble figure, by the name of Vernon Clay, piques Willie’s curiosity, but Vernon is stubbornly private and – despite Willie’s charming queries – has no interest in telling his story. Willie is tenacious, though, and he eventually learns that Vernon is a fellow musician, a fine guitarist and singer.

When Vernon disappears, he leaves behind only a diary, which tells an epic tale of life-altering tragedies, broken hearts, and crooked record men, not to mention backroad honky-tonks, down-home cooking, and country songwriting genius. Deeply moved and spurred on by Vernon’s pages, Willie aims to give the man one last shot at redemption and a chance to embody the holiday spirit.

©2016 Willie Nelson (P)2016 Penguin Audio