Ladies Love Outlaws

Ladies Love Outlaws

Tom Rush has always had the voice to convey great, deep sentiment. He has not always had the songs or the arrangements. While 1968’s The Circle Game upgraded his profile from Cambridge folkie to modern folksinger and is generally acknowledged as his finest hour, Ladies Love Outlaws from 1974 comes a close second. Like The Circle Game, it centers around other people’s songs and Rush’s impeccable interpretive gifts. Both feature Rush’s finest original, “No Regrets,” which appears here like most of the songs in a countrified context. Guy Clark’s “Desperados Waiting for the Train,” Bruce Cockburn’s “One Day I Walk” and Michael Smith’s “Hobo’s Mandolin” (which could easily be mistaken for a Townes Van Zandt tune) are warm, sensitive covers that never fall victim to glossy arrangements or cheap, overblown sentiment. Rush is a master of control and his refined delivery and calm demeanor gives these tunes a reassuring vibe that makes you wish he’d spent more of his career searching the catalog of modern songwriters in need of his sturdy guiding hand.

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