Picks and Pans Review: Natural Dreams

updated 10/15/1984 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 10/15/1984 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Tom T. Hall

Tom T.'s list songs—I Care, I Love and now, on this LP, I See—are like someone reading fragments out of a novelist's notebooks. Hall sees things that might be turned into appealing images or telling vignettes—"an old man cuttin' fireplace wood," "A little dog on the side of the road/Long been dead and long been cold," "A mobile home on the side of a hill/Surrounded by what looks like daffodils." But he doesn't pursue them; he rattles them off. This album also includes a more peculiar Hall tune, They Captured the Outlaw Last Night, which seems to slam country music's "outlaws" in general, and perhaps Willie Nelson in particular, for selling out. ("The man who would not sell his soul for a song/Came in for that trophy so shiny and bright...His dream disappeared in society's light.") When they set up the Pot-Calling-the-Kettle-Black Hall of Fame, Tom T, the most commercial good ole boy around, ought to be first in line on the basis of this tune alone. The rest of the album is standard Hall material, along the lines of Blackberry Dreams and I Only Think About You When I'm Drunk. Unaccountably, not only did Hall record the Gordon Jenkins-Johnny Mercer standard PS. I Love You but it has also become a hit single, as it was in the past for Mel Tormé and the Hilltoppers. (Polygram)

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