Mesabi - Tom Russell - 2011

Have you ever seen Duluth?
When the Great Lake waves are pounding?
There must be some way out of there
You might end up lost or drowning
And the polkas at the Polish dance hall
And the carnivals of spring
And the rock and roll on an upright piano
Didn't the kid make the high school rafters ring?
The kid who heard Howlin' Wolf
Every night on the radio
From those airwaves blasting
All the way up from Nogales, Mexico
And the duck-tail boys in St. Cloud
Polished up their chords of fame
And the armory show
Where Buddy Holly sang 'The Learning of the Game'
Some things never change, on the Mesabi Iron Range
Where that wild north country rain screams
"Please don't make me do the work my father did"
Bethlehem of the troubadour kid
Have you ever heard that desert wind blow
'Cross the City of the Angels?
I was the kid playing football
In that Catholic school deep down in Mexican town
Richie Valens sang, 'La Bamba'
It's 80 miles to Tijuana
I stole my parent's car one night
Never found the dark-eyed ladies in the cowboy songs
Just a kid listening
To my Uncle George's record player
While the great vinyl wheel spun
Round its holy prayer
And steel guitars in the Telecaster bars
Of the San Joaquin towns
And 'Don't Think Twice It's Alright'
From the wild Mesabi Holy Ground
Some things never change
It's still the learning of the game
You might end up on Fifth and Main, kid
Please don't make me go out like my father did
I wanna sing like the troubadour kid

More Trivia

Mesabi—whose cover art was painted by Russell—begins with the title track, Russell‟s tribute to one of his muses, Mr. Dylan. Dylan, Russell notes, came up listening to the likes of bluesmen like Howlin‟ Wolf on Mexican radio stations, which Russell also heard while growing up in L.A.—an inspiration to him before he heard Bob Dylan. “I was up there once [near Dylan‟s northern Minnesota birthplace] and I couldn‟t believe he came out of that desolate country,” says Russell. “I was amazed. That song is about me listening to Dylan in L.A. and trying to become a better songwriter. And I‟m still at it.”

Even More Trivia