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COMMENTS: Ol' Tom T can make these things work on several different levels. The story is Hall's memory of the death of a local guitar picker who was his childhood hero. It works as a sample of the kind of backwood country blues that would turn on young boys from Hank Wiliams to Chuck Berry to Lynyrd Skynyrd. It is an outstanding character sketch of poor old Clayton, and a good look at the narrator's hero worship and mourning.


It is presented as a memory of mourning long past, and has a well considered burnished hurt. The notes sound as if the now grown and successful narrator has spent a lot of time thinking about old Clayton. Listen to the unextinguished anguish lurking in the key melody lines, such as "They said for the last two weeks that he suffered and cried."


Note here a trait of Tom T's personality that greatly enhances his records: he just can't stand to use stock arrangements. He has the standard acoustic guitar, the slide guitar and a subdued drummer pretty much like you might expect. He also has, however, some touches that almost certainly are not how Clayton did it, most notably the muted trumpet commentary running prominently through the song. Listen close for all the little touches of strings and banjos, dobros and such.


"Clayton told me 'Son, you'd better put that old guitar away. There ain't no money in it; it'll lead you to an early grave.'"



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