Acquisition: Donated by Jody Fischer
Access: Open for Research
Processed by: Christine Moscardini-Hall, Phylicia Reyes, and Wendy Thompson, 2011
Creator: Fischer, Jody
Title: Jody Fischer Collection of Willie Nelson
Dates: 1974 – 2003 [Bulk Dates 1974-1988]
Abstract: Jody Fischer’s collection of photographs, audio cassette tapes and VHS tapes relating to Willie Nelson are represented. The materials are arranged into the following series: Personal Papers, Ephemera, Posters, Photographs, Audio Cassette Tapes, Video Cassette Tapes, and Artifacts.
Identification: Collection 103
Extent: 20 boxes plus oversize folders (13 linear feet)
Jody Fischer was born December 21, 1949. During the 1970’s she lived in New York City, and was active with the music scene. She was a bit of a musician and writer herself. According to a 1991 Texas Monthly article, she started following Willie Nelson in the early 1970’s helping wherever she could. When he purchased the Pedernales Country Club in 1979, she was hired on as his personal secretary. Her job was to schedule studio time for Willie and his musician friends, assist Lana Nelson with charitable work, and generally assist in managing the property. She also had a small part in his movie, Red-Headed Stranger, which was filmed on the property.
When Willie Nelson began the Farm Aid movement, Jody took calls coming in from famers and their families, and is often quoted as being a compassionate listener. She was very close to the extended Nelson family, as well as involved in diverse causes such as Farm Aid and Native American civil rights.
Jody passed away on December 25, 2003 at the Christopher House hospice for cancer patients, in the Willie Nelson room.
Scope and Content Note
The Jody Fischer Collection of Willie Nelson spans from 1974-2003, with the bulk of the materials covering 1983-1988. The collection is comprised of photographs, audio cassette tapes and video tapes collected by Jody Fischer that relate to Willie Nelson. The arrangement of the collection is entirely artificial as the materials were not organized when received. Titles in quotation marks are attributed to Jody Fischer.
The collection is arranged into the following seven series: Personal Papers, Ephemera, Photographs, Posters, Audio Cassette Tapes, Video Cassette Tapes, and Artifacts. An overview of each series is provided below.
SERIES I: Personal Papers, 1985-1986, 2003, undated
This series includes correspondence letters, rough drafts of song lyrics and a birthday card to Jody Fischer.
SERIES II: Ephemera, 1977, 1985-1987, undated
Boxes 1, 3 & drawer 24
This series includes programs, a calendar, and a press kit for Red Headed Stranger. The press kit includes photos on set, director’s notes and cast descriptions. Programs include Austin Opry House performances, Run for Your Life program, Farm Aid 1985 program and First Decade Reunion program. The calendar is a Willie Nelson calendar from 1983.
SERIES III: Photographs, [1984-1988]
Boxes 1-3 & drawer 24
This series is divided into six sub-series: Willie Nelson portraits; Willie Nelson performing; Willie Nelson with others [non-performance]; non-Willie Nelson photographs; snapshots on the set of Red Headed Stranger, and snapshots on the set of Ned Blessing.
SERIES IV: Posters
Box 3 & drawer 24
Posters are divided into Willie Nelson and non-Willie Nelson subseries. The Nelson posters include ones for the sixth annual Fourth of July picnic; Honeysuckle Rose, and two advertising concerts. The bulk of the non-Willie Nelson posters are for concerts at the Austin Opry House by performers such as The Charlie Daniels Band, Kinky Friedman, Dave Loggins, The Lost Gonzo Band, and Taj Mahal.
SERIES V: Audio Cassette Tapes, 1976-1995
These audio cassettes primarily feature Willie Nelson, though there are several of other recording artists. The cassettes are in varying condition, some have been recorded over multiple times and the labels are not always descriptive of what is on the tape. The series of audio recordings has been divided into 5 subseries; Jody Fischer recordings, Willie Nelson studio recordings, Willie Nelson dated live recordings, Willie Nelson undated live recordings, and other recording artists. The collection also included a variety of commercially produced and released cassettes that have been transferred to the library holdings.
The cassettes covered a broad scope of music, as well as some personal recordings of events, phone calls and jam sessions. The cassettes did not have a particular original order, and when possible have been arranged by date. The priority for sorting recordings was broken down by separating out the Studio recordings, Jody’s own recordings which give insight to the interests and activities outside of strictly music that she participated in as an individual and as Willie Nelson’s personal assistant. Following that recordings are sorted by those including Willie Nelson, and those of other artists.
When it is not possible to sort by date, the recordings are sorted by alphabetical order of contributing artists. Often the labels only include first names, such as Hank, Dolly, Kris, Frank, and Johnny to name a few. While some of the last names can be inferred based on other famous musicians and context, last names that have been added by the processing staff are put in parenthesis to indicate that they are additions not included on the actual labels.
Subseries 1: Jody Fisher Recordings, 1988 – 1996, Undated
These recordings are difficult to date, frequently Ms. Fischer has recorded over other tapes, and many of her recordings have Willie Nelson music on the other side. These recordings include phone conversations, Hawaiian music taped from the radio on her trip to Hawaii, and programs focusing on Native American civil rights, amongst other topics.
Subseries 2: Willie Nelson Studio Recordings, 1983 – 1987, Undated
These recordings with one exception are from the Pedernales Studio. They are arranged by date when possible, with undated recordings at the end of the series.
SERIES V: Audio Cassette Tapes, continued
Subseries 3: Willie Nelson Recordings Dated, 1976 -1995
These recordings vary from jam sessions to concerts to rough recordings prior to production. Often they include other artists such as Kris Kristofferson, Merle Haggard, and other country, folk and blues artists.
Subseries 4: Willie Nelson Recordings, Undated
These recordings are similar to those in subseries 3, except that they are undated. Recordings will be grouped by collaborating artists listed on the labels.
Subseries 5: Recordings by Other Artists, 1982-1986, undated
These are other un-produced recordings in the Jody Fischer collections featuring other artists. These will be sorted alphabetically by artist last name.
SERIES VI: Video Cassette Tapes, 1982-1995, undated
This series consists of VHS and U-Matic tapes. Most of the tapes are programs featuring Willie Nelson recorded from the television. The programs include news interviews, music concerts, television shows and film. The majority of the tapes are produced video although, there are some tapes featuring raw footage of Willie Nelson. The raw footage includes a music performance at a bar in 1990, the auction of Willie Nelson’s personal belongings, Willie Nelson performing at Phoenix Indian School and Willie Nelson performing a toast to Mae Boren Axton. The raw footage tapes have been copied onto DVDs. The collection also includes television recordings of Farm Aid 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5 that aired on the MTV network. The VHS tapes that do not feature Willie Nelson include two episodes of Ned Blessing, a raw footage recording of the play, Small Town Girl and a raw footage recording of a tribal award ceremony with Kris Kristoferson in attendance. Titles supplied by Jody Fischer are in quotations.
This series is divided into five subseries: Farm Aid Concerts, Farm Aid Related Videos, Willie Nelson Produced Video, Willie Nelson Raw Footage and Non-Willie Nelson.
SERIES VII: Artifacts, 1974-1989, undated
The bulk of the series are T-shirts, sweatshirts, jackets and hats. Most of the T-Shirts are from Farm Aid, the 4th of July Picnic, and other concerts with some from various running events, and a couple from the Austin Opry House. The four sweatshirts are from Farm Aid. The jackets include paraphernalia from Willie Nelson concerts, Pederanales Recording Studio, and the 1984 Darrel and Willie Invitational. There are two hats; one white hat with “Willie Nelson Luck Texas,” on the band, and one baseball cap with “Willie Nelson Who’ll Buy My Memories? The IRS Tapes,” on the front. Also included in this series is a variety of items including match boxes, pins, golf balls fans, and bumper stickers.
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