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Lecture 5

MUS 365 Lecture Notes - Lecture 5: Edgar Cayce, Akashic Records, Concept Album

Course Code
MUS 365
Benjamin Ordaz

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Betrayal, Murder, and Prison
Part 5
Of his second, 1974, concept album “Phase and Stages” which traced and break-up and
divorce of a couple from each person’s perspective, Nelson write that he structured the
album from both sides, just for the challenge
The man’s side is autobiographical
In 1969, after his house in Nashville burned, Nelson an his family moved back to Texas
and rented the Happy Valley Dude Ranch in Bandera which was closed for the winter
In Bandera, he began to meditate and to read works of psychic Edgar Cayce (1877-1945)
who, for the final forty-three years of his life, placed himself daily in a deep, sleep like
trance from which he provided past life information, very accurate medical diagnosis,
and answers to myriad questions concerning events of the past, present, and future
Cayce gave readings from the Akashic Records, or the “Books of Life” for various
“entitles” individuals, past or present
His pronouncements were taken down by a stenographer and records of some 14,000
sessions survive
Excerpts from various readings were collated by Cayce’s son and disciples into thematic
collections and published as book on prophecy, psychic experience, the Akashic Records,
and reincarnation
In fact, Cayce’s book on reincarnation was available to Nelson at Bandera in 1969
through an inexpensive Warner Books paperback edition that first appeared in 1967
o The same year that Jess Stearn’s best-selling biography of Cayce The Sleeping
Prophetwas also published
The title song of Phases and Stages” is reprised throughout the album and works on
two levels:
o The first deals with reincarnation
o The second the more mundane reality of male-female relationships
o “Phases and Stages” with words like phases, stages and cycles are reminiscent of
language used by Edgar Cayce in his readings that addressed issues of
Nearly a decade after “Phases and Stages” Willie recorded his fourth concept album
“Tougher Than Leather” (1983), where he unambiguously sounded themes of
reincarnation and karmic consequence
While recovering in Hawaii from a collapsed lung and taking healings from a local
kahuna medical practitioner, Nelson composed the songs for the album
He wrote in his autobiography that, “it is a story album about a reincarnated cowboy.
He was a gunfighter in the 1800’s killed several people. He died in the electric chair”
“Tougher Than Leather” presents the narrative of cynical 19th century gunfighter who is
then reincarnated as a modern-day cowboy
He is caught up in karmic retribution by being mistakenly identified as the killer of a
shop owner during a robbery
He is convicted and then executed
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