Raw, noun: 13. unrefined sugar, oil, etc.

Serious baking mode here at Chez Rach. I'm whipping up two birthday cakes for my friend Janell's big bash tomorrow evening - one Maple Walnut (delish, a true winner), the other Chocolate Coconut Cream with fresh strawberries - so today's all baking, tomorrow's all frosting and flowers. And the flour-covered action is all accompanied by the soundtrack of one most excellent Mr. Willie Nelson.

How the hell'd I manage to miss his American Classic album when it came out last fall? What a dream. I've been enraptured by Willie's killer cover of Ain't Misbehavin' since it came on one mellow afternoon behind the bar a few weeks ago, and ever since, I can't get enough. This album - along with his older Stardust, from about ten years ago - hits on so many of those late, great songs from the American songbook: Blue Skies, Don't Get Around Much Anymore, Because of You, Baby, It's Cold Outside (with Norah Jones), On the Street Where You Live, Moonlight in Vermont, The Nearness of You, Georgia on My Mind... etc. etc. etc.

So I belatedly picked up both albums Wednesday night after yoga, and have been sashaying around my kitchen to Willie's low growl ever since. Talk about great inspiration for whipping up these two confections. My heart's nearest and dearest to Ain't Misbehavin', but the only online version I can find is an unfortunate paean to the redneck Confederate Britney Spears-esque Southern softcore porn beauty queen; yeah, you think I'm joking; I'm not. I just can't post that shit here. So watch it on your own, if you dare. And in the meantime, settle for this second-best: a fab duet (and you know how I love me a good duet!) between She of the Piano Keys, Diana Krall, and Willie himself, crooning away to If I Had You.

These cakes are gonna taste that much better for all the maple syrup-voiced music that birthed them. Have a great weekend. And heeeeere's Willie:

If I Had You ~ Willie Nelson, featuring Diana Krall (YouTube)


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