Nice to see so much love for Tom Russell dotted around here. He really is one of the greatest writers of story songs out there - as his cockfight song Gallo del Cielo also proves.
I forgot ro sign my Dave Alvin post above, but it was actually Alvin who led me to Russell. Alvin said something to the effect that the acid test he applied to his own songs before deciding if they were good enough was always: "Is this song up to Tom Russell's standards?" That seemed pretty good evidence to me that Russell was someone I should check out, and I'm very glad I did.