14 Songs, 34 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Willie Nelson celebrated the opening of his new recording facility — Pedernales Recording Studio, in Spicewood, Texas — with his first album of all-new material since 1975’s Red Headed Stranger. Like Stranger, Tougher Than Leather is a concept album about the Old West, centered around the story of a gunfighter who falls for the wife of a man he shot down. The doomed couple is later reincarnated and reunited, only to be separated again, by what Willie might call “a little old-fashioned karma.” Inspired by Nelson’s own aging process and the brush with death he had in 1981 (after his lung collapsed while swimming in Hawaii), Tougher Than Leather displays a focus and vitality that Nelson had not shown for awhile. The playing and singing is full-bodied, and so is the production. There are a lot of aging country singers who can pull off a great tune or a deep performance, but only Willie could make an album like Tougher Than Leather, which cycles through tones and scenes like a autumn wind around the corners an old town.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Willie Nelson celebrated the opening of his new recording facility — Pedernales Recording Studio, in Spicewood, Texas — with his first album of all-new material since 1975’s Red Headed Stranger. Like Stranger, Tougher Than Leather is a concept album about the Old West, centered around the story of a gunfighter who falls for the wife of a man he shot down. The doomed couple is later reincarnated and reunited, only to be separated again, by what Willie might call “a little old-fashioned karma.” Inspired by Nelson’s own aging process and the brush with death he had in 1981 (after his lung collapsed while swimming in Hawaii), Tougher Than Leather displays a focus and vitality that Nelson had not shown for awhile. The playing and singing is full-bodied, and so is the production. There are a lot of aging country singers who can pull off a great tune or a deep performance, but only Willie could make an album like Tougher Than Leather, which cycles through tones and scenes like a autumn wind around the corners an old town.

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Ratings and Reviews

4.9 out of 5
7 Ratings

7 Ratings

Harry Monkeybutt ,

Bad Karma

I bought this LP when it first came out. I ended up owning it in every format it has been released in.
The way I understand the album is that it’s about a gunslinger that murders in one life and stays free, only to pay for it in another life were he’s innocent of the crime. Well at least that’s how I see it.
It’s an album that has good songs but needs to be listen to in its entirety, to really appreciate that its written so you see it in your minds eye. (Deep Huh)

Pablo924 ,

#1A

Willie did 2 concept albums. Redheaded Stranger was first. They hold together better than Tougher Than Leather. #1 Redheaded Stranger, #1A Touger than Leather #1A.

sewer-king ,

A soul's journey through time and fate

This is a fantastic album full of great songs. Definitely what is referred to as a concept album which is best enjoyed when taken as a whole, but all of the songs stand up on their own. If you only own one album by Willie this is the one to get!

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