Kris Kristofferson / Willie Nelson

Music from "Songwriter"

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Willie Nelson was making so many records in the mid-'80s that it was easy for one to get lost in the shuffle, and that's what happened to this album. Tri-Star, the company that distributed Nelson's film Songwriter, gave it very little promotion, even though it was a good movie that contained one of the singer/actor's finest screen performances. He played Doc Jenkins, a country singer/songwriter who signs an onerous record deal and then finds a way out of it by enlisting the help of his friend Blackie Buck, played by Kris Kristofferson. Music filled the movie, much of it written and performed by the principals, and rather than release a soundtrack album, Columbia Records issued Music from "Songwriter", an album billed to Nelson and Kristofferson. Each side of the LP began with a duet by the two performers, with the rest of side one given over to Nelson tracks and the rest of side two to Kristofferson tracks. The opening duet, "How Do You Feel About Foolin' Around," became a country singles chart entry, but the best material was Nelson's, including the title song and the caustic "Write Your Own Songs," addressed to "Mr. Music Executive" and "Mr. Purified Country," and sung in the character of Doc Jenkins, though it no doubt expressed the feelings of Nelson as well. Kristofferson hadn't made a solo album in four years, and his four solo tracks found him concerned with topical issues having to do with illegal immigration ("Crossing the Border") and war ("Under the Gun"). Such songs had little to do with the movie, but a lot to do with the singer/songwriter's own current concerns, and he delivered them with fervor over a rocking band. The album made the pop and country charts, and Songwriter earned an Academy Award nomination for best original song score, losing to Purple Rain.

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