For his sixth release, Russell hired West Coast roots rock producer/bassist Dusty Wakeman for a big sound that at times recalls Bruce Springsteen's Darkness On the Edge of Town. . . . Russell is a gifted songwriter who populates his songs with empathetic characters and adds details that evoke the smell of blood or choking power of dust. Manzanar" adopts the point of view of a former Japanese-American prisoner put in an American concentration camp built after Pearl Harbor was bombed; "Hong Kong Boy" depicts the violence and racism of Chinese gangs vs. the Vietnamese . . . and the pumped-up, blue-eyed soul of "The Extra Mile" pays tribute to durable singer Mitch Ryder." --Decibel Dennis MacDonald
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