Tom Russell: Chocolate Cigarettes (1991)

 |   |  <1 min read

Tom Russell: Chocolate Cigarettes (1991)

Whether his stories are literally true or not (and some, like the Leadbelly song about boxer Jack Johnson being denied passage on the maiden voyage of the Titanic, aren't), the American singer-songwriter Tom Russell always tells a great story.

He also has a fine sensibility for history, the heartland of America, how the rest of the world sees his country and . . . .

Actually he just does it all, and the odd things is how little known he is outside of a small but loyal following.

He has made a couple of dozen albums, there has been a tribute compilation released featuring Joe Ely, Lawrence Ferlinghetti and others, and he's a regular on Letterman.

Oh, and he's a painter with a degree in criminology, and he wrote a novel.

Yes, Tom Russell is quite some guy . . . and this moving song slips between truth and reflection effortlessly. It comes from his much recommended Hurricane Season album.

For more oddities, one-offs or songs with an interesting backstory check the massive back-catalogue at From the Vaults.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   From the Vaults articles index

Dean Martin: My Rifle, My Pony and Me (1959)

Dean Martin: My Rifle, My Pony and Me (1959)

As Nick Tosche revealed in his remarkable biography Dino: Living High in the Dirty Business of Dreams, Dean Martin didn't have to try hard at anything: he was good looking, could sing whatever was... > Read more

Candi Staton: Another Man's Woman, Another Woman's Man (1969)

Candi Staton: Another Man's Woman, Another Woman's Man (1969)

This song -- which has Dan Penn, George Jackson and Martin Green as co-writers -- is so elementally simple as to be little more than a pure outpouring of emotion when sexual desire overwhelms... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Sona Jobarteh: Fasiya (West African Guild)

Sona Jobarteh: Fasiya (West African Guild)

Although this remarkable London-raised woman from West Africa is acknowledged as a rare female kora player from her griot family (Toumani Diabate is a cousin), she is also a strong advocate and... > Read more

Rachel Magoola: Resilience, Songs of Uganda (Arc Music/digital outlets)

Rachel Magoola: Resilience, Songs of Uganda (Arc Music/digital outlets)

Ugandans have certainly needed to be resilient: in living memory there was the mad despot Idi Amin and subsequent disruption, the HIV epidemic, the civil war lead by the Lord's Resistance Army... > Read more