Wrestling With The Angel, Chapter 14

Five years ago – almost to the day – I wrote about the song “Copper Canteen” by James McMurtry. “Copper Canteen” was the lead song on McMurtry’s then-brand-new album, Complicated Game.

The last line of that post (titled “A Somewhat Recent Rediscovery”) was:

“I’ve made a promise to myself not to lose track of James McMurtry again.”

Well, I didn’t.

So when I read about the release of The Horses and the Hounds, McMurtry’s first album since Complicated Game, I made plans for a trip to Bull Moose Music in Portsmouth, N.H. to pick up a copy.

The Horses and the Hounds is a truly extraordinary album. The songs and the arrangements, the performances and the production are consistently outstanding from first track to the last. Listening to this stunningly well crafted music and these sonically epic recordings has been an exhilarating and joyful experience.

One song, however – actually one verse in that song – stands tall as my favorite lyric on the album.

The song is “If It Don’t Bleed” and the lyric is in the song’s second verse.

“So run another rack, pour another shot / You don’t get it back so give it all you got while you still got a more or less functional body and mind.”

Right on the money.

Listen for yourself. Please. (You’ll be glad you did!)


“If It Don’t Bleed” was written by James McMurtry, produced by Ross Hogarth and performed by:

  • James McMurtry – Vocals
  • David Grissom – Guitars
  • Daren Hess – Drums
  • Sean Hurley – Bass Guitar
  • Kenny Aronoff – Percussion
  • Stan Lynch – Percussion
  • Harry Smith – Slide Guitar
  • Bukka Allen – Organ
  • Loren Gold – Piano
  • Randy Garibay, Jr. – Harmony Vocal

Thank you, James McMurtry. Music this good will never get old. 

The purpose of my Wrestling With The Angel series is to highlight and share individual songs that are on a list of mine entitled: Devastatingly Great Songs. The title phrase, “Wrestling With The Angel,” is my paraphrase of a line from a poem by Herman Melville called “Art.” You can read the complete poem in “The Source,” my archived post of November 4, 2011. 

This entry was posted in Posts with Video, Wrestling With The Angel and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.