Country legend Willie Nelson has removed images of marijuana leaves from select copies of his new reggae album COUNTRYMAN to avoid a ban.

With green cannabis leaves on a red and yellow background, the cover art makes the CD - which took 10 years to complete - look like an oversized pack of rolling papers.

While Nelson holds a fondness for the Rastafarian-favoured herb, bosses at Universal Music Group Nashville have decided to replace the leaves featured on the cover with palm trees for the CDs sold at US retail chain Wal-Mart, a huge outlet for country music whose executives are sensitive about lyrics and packaging.

Nelson jokes, "They're covering all the bases."

13/07/2005 09:35