Rock n Roll music at its’ best is about myth making, forever telling stories about sketchy people, heroes, lunatics, saints.
It has driven the mode at least since Chuck Berry telling elaborately detailed tales of Men and their ability to get in and out of trouble. It is an art form carries on most capably by Neil Young, through to Bruce Springsteen (the cover for the song is a doppelgänger for Springsteen’s “Nebraska”).
Welcome “Vinegar Joe” to the graphic cinematic world of “Thirty Days”, “Brown Eyed Handsome Man”, “Powderfinger”, “The Thrasher”, “Johnny 99” or dozens of others. Like Townes Van Zant’s “Ballad of Lefty and Pancho”, where the heroes share “top billing” with the stark landscape evoked in the song, this tune kicks ass even though the protagonist is doomed....It is Marty Robin’s in “El Paso”, sixty years later, but still headed for the same sad fate.
Love that the guitar takes over the narrative at a key point. It is another Neil Young trait, during his “Crazyhorse” days when the sonic guitar spoke for itself.
Really excellent, full blown performance.
Pop journalist and Mad Men binger