7. Tom Pacheco

I wrote about Tom Pacheco a couple of months ago over at Mere Words. Back in 1974, Pacheco was one of the artists Paul struggled to sign to Mercury Records. While Paul was unsuccessful, he did help Pacheco land a record contract at RCA, where he recorded his first two solo albums. Until I brought it to his attention in March, Pacheco was unaware that Paul had reviewed his debut album, 1976’s Swallowed Up in the Great American Heartland.

Pacheco, who himself is known to wax political now and then, says, “One thing was true: Paul did not care much for political songs.” He told the critic back in the Seventies: “Paul, sometimes you’ve got to write those things. You have to. Even if they’re only going to be good for two years, you still have to do them once in a while.”

One wonders what Paul would think of Pacheco’s “When You’re Back on Your Ranch in Texas,” a lovely anti-Bush number that manages to invoke the war in Iraq, what’s left of New Orleans, international diplomacy, the separation (or not) of church and state, the national debt, 9/11, and global warming while at the same time humanizing the target of the song’s haunting vitriol.

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