This may be a story about a mother and her child, but just like Willie’s original, Raven Haired Vixen is a Western. This isn’t just about lullabies and love songs from mother to babe. Multiple times along the way, guns are drawn, and blood is shed in the recapture and protection of the heroine’s son.
- Raven Red's henchwomen are also evil negative counterparts of Jet's brave and skilled stunt-girl team. They are a trio of unpleasant youngish women, a blonde and 2 brunettes, in Raven's pay. None are referred to by name. They all carry guns, though don't seem very skilled with them - Jet proves able to dodge their bullets. Happy to kill in cold blood for money, jeering and callous when the odds seemed stacked their way, but quickly rattled and pretty useless as things start to turn against them. Jet sums them up when she contemptuously refers to them as Raven's "hen pack".
But unlike Red Headed Stranger, Mamma Coal relies mostly on original compositions to help the story unfold. Raven Haired Vixen follows a mother as she attempts to reclaim her child from the father who has seized him to be raised by another, and later when a stranger seeks to harm her child. Illustrations in the physical copy done by Aaron McConnell compliment the narrative of the record, which depending on your interpretation, may even have some tie-ins to Red Headed Stranger; you’ll just have to listen to find out how.
Meanwhile the real story of Raven Haired Vixen is the compositional effort put out by Mamma Coal and her studio collaborators who construct an involved recording with trumpet fanfare and excellent guitar work by Paul Brainard, and Mamma’s astounding voice that brings the songs and story to three dimensional life. Mamma Coal has such an effortless vibrato and unique texture to her voice, and the same caring with which she coddles her child and crafts this story is how she delivers her parts throughout the record, while still making sure to honor the spirit of Red Headed Stranger by offering more intimate, stripped-down moments, especially when treasured times are spent with mother and child alone.