The trepidation and tension is so lovely and palpable it plays like the perfect backdrop to an August monsoon roiling over the Rincon Mountains, darkening slowly all of Tucson. There’s some Southern gothic too, coming on like a debilitating booze relapse, or the devil himself, where it’s so hot “even the birds won’t sing,” and you’re “too tired to make love, but not to fight.” Daniel Lanois would’ve killed for the cinematics here—the rising strings, the guitar and noise drones, the top-shelf reverb. Then Dan Stuart’s whisper-talk lifts and there’s reasonable fear in his tone, but he steers clear of cliché, emphatically singing this defining line: Hector’s out of prison … He’s gone berserk. The enusing strings go mad-house and Stuart's little world has gone berserk. That's when the entire tune hits home, hard.
That one line defines the creepy. There wasn’t a soul who wasn’t afraid of real-life Hector, including this digit, and Dan Stuart, co-writer of this beautifully muted haunt. See, Hector’s an Old Pueblo legend and murderer who terrified teens in the early Tucson punk rock scene—Pearl’s Hurricane Bar, Tumbleweeds and the Night Train. I saw him nearly kill a guy on 4th Ave with his fists once. He got out of prison and this tune—one the five best Tucson songs of all time—came into being. (More on those other songs soon).
*Note that Al Kooper helmed this album (Scapegoat, 1991), and the Tucson-weaned band by this time was down to Dan Stuart and Chuck Prophet.