Cincinnati Babyhead

Speaks his mind on music & movies!

Quick Hit Album : Tom Russell – Hotwalker

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Outsider America as told by Tom Russell. The best way for me to give you an idea of what ‘Hotwalker’ is about is to get you to listen to the second cut (Old America) off the record. Tom sets it up. He narrates his American (L.A.) memories and then turns the narration over to Little Jack Horton, “circus midget, human cannonball, king of the carnival, voice of the midway, a true American voice from the sawdust back lots. Real low fidelity Americana the way it used to be”.

This cut will set the tone. Russell puts the proper music in the background. Basically Tom and Jack tell stories of Charles Bukowski, Jack Kerouac, Lenny Bruce (funny bit), Dave Van Ronk, Jazz, Country, rock n roll. Woody Guthrie, Spade Cooley,  Buck Owens, Merle Haggard, Bob Dylan, Bill Haley, Gram Parsons and too many others to mention. Voices and people from a lost time. I wanted to be sitting in the bar with Tom and Jack, drinking, smoking and listening to these stories brought back to life while Russell played a few songs on his guitar. Under belly history, smokey bars, carnivals, strip joints, racetracks, honky tonks,. “Uncorrupted by the mainstream”. Underground life. Secret shit. Outsider America. Outsider people.

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Russell takes us back to a different time and sprinkles in the music he was hearing, a real mixed bag and it is no wonder people got jacked on this stuff. The whole vibe would grab people especially those who wanted the real stuff, the under the roots stuff, the other side of the tracks stuff.

History, CB’s kind of history.  This is where I get my info, from the source. Wikipedia can’t supply this personal touch. Being there. Take a trip into this world. Tom conjures up images that come alive. He supplies the soundtrack to the film that will play in your head. This album moves CB to the core. Listen to Tom’s song to Woodrow Guthrie. Magic.

I wanted to get this take right, to pique your curiosity but in the end you have to trust me on this one. It will probably be nothing like you’ve ever listened to.  Albums like this are why I started these takes. They are special pieces of work. Tom Russell is a special talent and in CB’s opinion a guy who doesn’t take any wrong turns in his creativeness. Keep doing the thing you do Tom.

 

 

 

 

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25 comments on “Quick Hit Album : Tom Russell – Hotwalker

  1. hotfox63
    January 20, 2019

    The recording is fascinating, full of anecdotes and oral history. It’s probably not where I would start if I were interested in Tom Russell’s recordings, but it’s definitely a great addition.

    Liked by 1 person

    • cincinnatibabyhead
      January 20, 2019

      I love this recording. I think I would have been more than cool to start here with Tom but knowing his history made it a special piece. I’ve been following (dive bars) him for years and he just keeps doing it. You’re on top of a lot of the same people Fox. Looking forward to a Tom Russell take from you (has there been one already?).

      Liked by 1 person

      • hotfox63
        January 21, 2019

        What I like about Tom Russel is, that he has always said in his songs what was important to him. “Hotwalker” may be ambitious project of many of the influences and traditions that has been part of his earlier work. But the result sounds for me too pretentious and affected, it’s like a collection of ideas that are mostly form rather than content, effect rather than emotion.

        Liked by 1 person

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        January 21, 2019

        It certainly a swing from his usual output but I guess he had an idea he wanted to let out. It works for me Fox. I can see your point. I guess it hits me different and it does stir emotions for me. It’s more like a screenplay or a documentary of his experiences which he does jazz up like any story teller. Tom has always been a great story teller backed with music.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Jim S.
    January 20, 2019

    That is some oddball shit. CB is way more into the Americana than me. If you asked me to go see him I would do it in a heartbeat but probably not something I’d listen to casually.

    Liked by 2 people

    • cincinnatibabyhead
      January 20, 2019

      Slap this on in the car one day. He’ll take you on a music trip. He touches on all that Tex-Mex, rock n roll, country, West Coast Jazz that he was digging back in the late 50’s/60’s. He speaks our language Doc. He is a musicologist on a par with you and I (how’s that for bs?)
      Doc listen to the last cut with Little Jack giving the Coda. Kinda how I feel about politicians. I love the passion he has about Ray Charles, Johnny Cash, Hank Williams. I’m with him.
      One other thing he has a great guitarist that tours with him sometimes, Andrew Hardin.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Yeah, Another Blogger
    January 20, 2019

    Tom’s a guy I know a bit about but not enough about. Thanks for this article, CB!
    By the way, if you don’t know The Hankdogs, check them out. They broke up, but made two amazing albums while they were together.

    Liked by 1 person

    • cincinnatibabyhead
      January 20, 2019

      Tom leans to the country/folk/cowboy (good country) side. Very cool, interesting guy. A keeper of a lot of Americana (his experience). I’m sure you can find lots of folks that have been touched by his talent. I’m sure Neil would find some enjoyment.
      I will be all over The Hankdogs like a cheap suit on CB. Thanks for that.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. 1537
    January 20, 2019

    Fascinating stuff CB. What year is this from?

    Liked by 1 person

    • cincinnatibabyhead
      January 20, 2019

      2005 I think. I think you’d dig this one. ‘The Man From God Knows Where’ and ‘The Rose Of Roscrae’ are a couple other good swings by Tom. You should be able to find some praises for “Hotwalker’. It’s one of those special albums in my pile. If he ever gets over your way check out a great evening of music and stories. He has lots of roots on that side and always refers to them.
      He does the country/folk/western thing on his other records but it’s not that commercial stuff that I know you love. What can I say, Tom Russell is a one of a kind. He might even turn you into a Cowboy. I keep trying.

      Like

  5. J.
    January 22, 2019

    Brilliant, CB… you know this kinda stuff is for me… I know bits and pieces, but not this. I dig this take and I’ve got it playing already. Amazing stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

    • cincinnatibabyhead
      January 22, 2019

      If this album hits you it hits you hard. That’s what it did to me. He conjures up the time and place and takes you there. Thanks for enjoying the take but I’m just exposing a great piece of work by Tom Russell. I figured you might like this one. Tom has a solid body of work.

      Liked by 1 person

      • J.
        January 25, 2019

        Really enjoyed it – so much wrapped up in that album… it really paints a picture.

        I’ve got a few of his albums lined up for some time on yon Spotify.

        Liked by 1 person

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        January 26, 2019

        Glad you liked it. Different experience.
        He has a pretty extensive library. Can’t lose. Actually ‘Wounded Heart Of America’ which the song below is from is a pretty good one. Your buddy Doug Sahm is on it.

        Liked by 1 person

      • J.
        January 27, 2019

        That was pretty great, CB. As the description says, incredibly relevant today.

        I’ll dig into the album…

        Liked by 1 person

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        January 28, 2019

        Let me know how it goes.

        Liked by 1 person

      • J.
        February 4, 2019

        Hello! Thoroughly enjoying this chap’s stuff…

        Liked by 1 person

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        February 4, 2019

        That’s cool. He played in my area a lot. He’s the real deal and a super nice guy to boot. A real keeper pf all that’s good in that style of music.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. greenpete58
    January 22, 2019

    Didn’t know about him, but now I do (thanks). So true, “Wikipedia can’t supply this personal touch.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • cincinnatibabyhead
      January 22, 2019

      I think old Tom could be right up your music alley.

      Liked by 1 person

      • greenpete58
        January 22, 2019

        I listened to the cuts here, and we do seem to have a lot in common!

        Liked by 1 person

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        January 22, 2019

        He has so much good music Pete. Some of his tunes are embedded in my head. He has a couple albums similar to this where he takes a turn into another side of his creativity. Needless to say I dig him. I thought you might also.

        Like

  7. Thom Hickey
    January 23, 2019

    Yup, yup, yup, yup, daddy o! As hep and smart as you can be. Thom

    Liked by 1 person

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