Twofors, don't you just love 'em? In this case "Indians Cowboys Horses Dogs" is exactly what you'd expect from Tom ( sturdy song writing, well judged covers, exemplary musicianship, er charismatic vocals). Well worth the shelf space. "Hotwalker" is a skunk of a different smell. Taking hip hop esq samples and vocal interludes ( and in the case of Lenny Bruce , running a whole joke. Feminists look away now) a tale is told of a lost America. One that reveled in diversity, music, literature and the occasional booze up! Are you listening Donald! Tom returned to this approach for his 2015 epic "The rose of Roscrea". But this is much more fun.
great story teller. His lyrics bring the characters, the towns, the different feelings, to life. Songs about the hardships that this world had to offer. Tom Russell has the rare ability to write songs that the listener can picture happening, as each song is played. His other albums are excellent too!!
The first song I ever memorized was Marty Robbins' "Ballad of El Paso." Tom Russell's version is better. There, I've said it.
His re-weaving of "The Ballad of Ira Hayes"' would delight Johnny Cash, who cared deeply for it. For those who don't immediately remember, Hayes was a Pima Indian, robbed of water rights and impoverished, who, as a Marine, fought for the country which had robbed him. His hand is on the flagpole raised at Iwo Jima. He died an alcoholic. (No PTSD then.) This song should be taught in every school.
On a livelier note, his cover of Dylan's "Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts" ripples along, practically a dance song, ending as such songs must, with a hanging.
The dog in the album title is, of course, Old Blue.
I have become a Tom Russell fan fairly recently. I think I almost understand what he is about. Hotwalker is a brilliant entertainment, history, whatever. It does bear up to repeated listenings and I have found that I am happy for tracks to turn up on shuffle on my iPod. Indians Cowboys ... is much more accessible. A super selection of originals and covers played brilliantly. Includes one of the great 'dog' songs. Buy this bargain.