Tougher Than Leather

Tougher Than Leather

by Willie NelsonWillie Nelson
3 New & Used Starting at $17.29


After years of singing standards, putting out duet albums, starring in movies, appearing in soundtracks, and taking other detours, Willie Nelson finally returned with an album of (almost) all-new material with 1983's Tougher Than Leather, his first collection of original songs since 1975's Red Headed Stranger. Like that record, Tougher Than Leather is a concept record, but unlike Stranger, it's nearly impossible to figure out what the record is about. In all likelihood, it's about a gunfighter, who may or may not be a metaphor for Willie himself, in his last days, and there are four songs with "rose" in the title, two parts of "Somewhere in Texas," and a version of "Beer Barrel Polka" thrown in for good measure. Musically, it's right in the vein of Red Headed Stranger -- a little more robust, since it was cut with his touring band, which also leads to a greater variety of sounds, something that doesn't necessarily jibe with the intended intimacy of the songs, even if it's wholly welcome after the stilted Chips Moman productions. The problem with Tougher Than Leather is that the album simply doesn't hold together thematically, which wouldn't be a major problem if the songs were consistently good, but they're often too minimal to catch hold, with only the revived "Summer of Roses" (originally on Yesterday's Wine), "Little Old Fashioned Karma," and the elegiac "Nobody Slides, My Friend" standing out among the pack, and they're modest in their success as well. Consequently, Tougher Than Leather winds up being more admirable for what it tries to do than what it accomplishes.

Product Details

Release Date: 10/25/1990
Label: Sony
UPC: 0074643824828
catalogNumber: 38248

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Willie Nelson   Primary Artist,Guitar,Vocals
David Allan Coe   Vocals
Johnny Gimble   Fiddle,Mandolin,Violin,Drums
Waylon Jennings   Guitar,Vocals
Grady Martin   Guitar
Bobby Wood   Keyboards,Vocals
Mickey Raphael   Harmonica
Johnny Christopher   Guitar,Vocals
Bobby Emmons   Keyboards
Paul English   Drums
Gene Grisman   Drums
Sherilyn Huffman   Vocals
Mike Leech   Bass
John Marett   Saxophone
Chips Moman   Guitar
Bob "Chicago" Nelson   Piano
Jody Payne   Guitar,Vocals
Lisa Silver Reynolds   Vocals
Bee Spears   Bass
Billie Jo Spears   Bass
Toni Wine   Vocals
Bobbie Nelson   Piano

Technical Credits

Willie Nelson   Arranger,Composer,Producer
Paul English   Contributor
Larry Greenhill   Engineer
Ballard MacDonald   Composer
Bee Spears   Arranger,Producer
Dave Zettner   Art Direction
Bobbie Nelson   Arranger
R.C. King   Composer
Traditional   Composer

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