Bruce Springsteen

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TheBrownDog
Mar 14, 2002
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Finally watching the doco of a Letter to You and it’s awesome having listened to this album on high rotation these past 3 months

In light of the highest number of deaths of 4300 today in the USA from Covid we can only hope they all stay healthy.

Any touring beyond 2021 will be a miracle.

Anyway, those last 2 minutes, his beautiful words over that soaring scenery, teared up!
 
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Ford Fairlane

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Nope, was looking for a version of Clampdown and came across it.

It's not easy to do justice to The Clash and their intense brand of barely restrained punk/rock. They were one of the great bands.

This does them justice.
 

Ma Xiao Long

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Now, Mary Lou loved Johnny
With a love mean and true
She said, "Baby, I'll work for you everyday"
And bring my money home to you
One day, he up and left her
And ever since that
She waits down at the end of that dirt road
For young Johnny to come back
 

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RussellEbertHandball

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Now, Mary Lou loved Johnny
With a love mean and true
She said, "Baby, I'll work for you everyday"
And bring my money home to you
One day, he up and left her
And ever since that
She waits down at the end of that dirt road
For young Johnny to come back
Went for a long walk last Saturday and listened to Nebraska in full from start to finish for the first time in about 15 years. Shouldn't wait so long to do that again. Reason to Believe is probably the song I have listened to the most over the years. Reckon its a good song to finish off the album with.
 

Ma Xiao Long

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Went for a long walk last Saturday and listened to Nebraska in full from start to finish for the first time in about 15 years. Shouldn't wait so long to do that again. Reason to Believe is probably the song I have listened to the most over the years. Reckon its a good song to finish off the album with.
I'm kind of new to Bruce Springsteen and it took me a while to get into Nebraska, but it "clicked" for me this week and I've been listening to it a lot. Reason to Believe is my favourite song on the album and the saddest. Something about hoping against hope and that it sounds kind of upbeat, which tricks you on the first listen. Incredible songwriter and storyteller. I have to get around to reading his autobiography.
 

RussellEbertHandball

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I'm kind of new to Bruce Springsteen and it took me a while to get into Nebraska, but it "clicked" for me this week and I've been listening to it a lot. Reason to Believe is my favourite song on the album and the saddest. Something about hoping against hope and that it sounds kind of upbeat, which tricks you on the first listen. Incredible songwriter and storyteller. I have to get around to reading his autobiography.
That's why I like it as the last song. It is a sad song like the others but being upbeat it is a great conundrum, a bit like life itself at times, and how we all need a reason to believe in something even though it has caused us pain. It just wouldn't sit well in the middle of the album.

When Bruce wrote Nebraska he finally had some financial success with the River, could afford to buy a new car for the first time in his life, but was a little lost, started anguishing about spending that much money on himself, should he buy a house when his heart was in travelling the highway? He moved back to New Jersey and found himself regularly driving around his old hometown of Freehold. Looking for answers from his youth. Hence the song My Father's House on Nebraska.

The grime times of the early Reagan years and the recession was always interpreted that Nebraska was a metaphor for this period, because it was so dark compared to his previous albums, but Bruce doesn't talk about it this way in his biography. But just like the Reagan Recession turned into the Reagan Revolution the some sort of thing happened to Bruce between Nebraska and Born in the USA albums.

He recorded Nebraska on a 4 track cassette recorder, mainly because he got sick of blowing so much money on studio time first trying to find out if his songs were any good and then trying to record them, that he put the cassette recorder in his bedroom of the house he was renting. He added some backing vocals and other instruments, basically mixed the album himself.

He recorded some tracks that would be used on Born in the USA album including the acoustic version of the title track, that would be released many years later. He did his recordings over several days but one day he recorded 15 songs, 10 of which made it onto Nebraska.

He did go into the studio and brought the band in to record the songs, but didn't like what that produced and thought it wasn't as authentic as he produced at home. So he was going to just release Nebraska on cassette and not vinyl.

But his longtime recording engineer Chuck Plotkin, found a old remastering lathe and was able to clean it up and put the album out on vinyl.

Those recordings with the band are known as Electric Nebraska, have never been released and there has been great debate if they ever will be. At concerts a lot of the songs basically become the Electric version, especially Mansion on the Hill and Atlantic City on the Reunion Tour /Live in New York Album. Bruce didn't tour Nebraska album as he thought it was too soon after The River tour ended.

It got good critical reviews at the time, charted ok, and the songs got almost no radio airplay. But over the years as critics and others have listened to it again, it picked up the the status as a masterpiece album, because of the writing rather than sound of the songs.
 

Cruyff14

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Now, Mary Lou loved Johnny
With a love mean and true
She said, "Baby, I'll work for you everyday"
And bring my money home to you
One day, he up and left her
And ever since that
She waits down at the end of that dirt road
For young Johnny to come back
Went for a long walk last Saturday and listened to Nebraska in full from start to finish for the first time in about 15 years. Shouldn't wait so long to do that again. Reason to Believe is probably the song I have listened to the most over the years. Reckon its a good song to finish off the album with.
Enjoy guys.

 

RussellEbertHandball

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I bought the LTY album just before Christmas and finally got to regularly play it from start to finish in one listen in early January for a dozen times or so. It has grown on me a lot and will write more about it in another post.

Max is right, you have to listen to it from start to finish in one session to truly appreciate it. It's Bruce's best album since The Rising IMO - as a fluid, but consistent narrative - and Bruce always talks about the narrative of an album being most important.

Back in late October after LTY was released, at post #8,228, I cut and pasted this from an article - "The album includes nine recently written Springsteen songs, as well as new recordings of three previously unreleased songs from the ’70s: “Janey Needs a Shooter,” “If I Was the Priest” and “Song for Orphans.”

I want to concentrate on those 3 songs in this post.

I forgot which songs were written in the 1970's, early 70's I have discovered, and tried to see if I could pick up which ones they were when I started listening to the album in full, when I would go for longer 10km walks - usually I go running but my achilles is playing up, so walking meant I concentrated harder on the music and words.

Janey Needs a Shooter was the first one I picked and was pretty confident it was one of them. Reckon it could have easily fitted on Greetings from Asbury Park, because of the very descriptive lyrics like songs on that album.

Bruce's good mate Warren Zevon in the early 1980's released a song called Jeanie Needs a Shooter, that borrows heavily from the song ( sort of like Patti Smith's Because the Night) - the shooter in both songs is a protector or lover. The 2 songs sound very different.

Next was Song For Orphans. After a couple of listens it sounded like a Bob Dylan song. I can't work out which one, but it has a Bob Dylan feel, and he mentions Big Mama which he has used in a couple of other songs from the early/mid 1970's.

It took me about a dozen listens of the full album before I thought, If I Was the Priest was the third song. It was probably the volume of words that got me to think that way. For me its like some of the songs on Born To Run in its structure. Plus the use of mama and papa several times, is very Bruce from the 1970's.

When Bruce was looking for his first record contract he was granted a meeting with legendary producer and music industry guru, John Hammond. Hammond started in the depression with artists like Benny Goodman and Billie Holiday, went and fought in WWII, then got back into music production at Columbia Records with Pete Seeger and Aretha Franklin in the 1950's, Bob Dylan in the 1960's, Bruce and Leonard Cohen in the early 70's and many, many others. He was inducted into the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame at the start of it in the mid 80's.

Here is Bruce's version of If I was the Priest he played to Hammond in 1971 that what's been dubbed the Hammond Sessions/Demo when have gave Hammond a handful of his songs to listen to. The notes on this video say - the song Bruce said he'd never perform live.



This next version was from 1972 the notes on the video say - This version of "If I Was The Priest" was recorded at Mediasound Studios, 311 West 57th Street, New York, NY during May-July, 1972, a solo piano version. According to comments by Bruce this was written in late 1970 or early 1971. It was performed live at The Student Prince in the fall of 1971. A new version was recorded with The E Street Band in late 2019. It's now officially re-recorded with the full E Street Band and released on his "Letter To You" album on October 23, 2020.

What a huge improvement between the two versions. You gotta wonder if Bruce played it more often how much more it would have improved over the 1970's with the E Street band.

This Set List link says he played it live once in 1971 (mentioned above) and twice in 1972.



And the 2020 version.



Song For Orphans was played live once in 1971, twice in 1972, twice in 1973 and twice in 2005 in New Jersey.

Notes from the video below about the first of those 1973 performances - SONG FOR ORPHANS is a song written by Bruce Springsteen in 1972 and recorded in Spring that year. The song, which Springsteen has performed live only a handful of times in his career, has not yet been officially released. This version is taken from Bruce's first-ever radio station performance (and still the earliest circulating 'live' material with what would become the E Street Band) on WBCN-FM on January 9, 1973. Amazingly, he played it in 2005 for the 1st (and only) time since the early 70's. Even more amazing is that he has released a re-recorded version with the full E Street Band on his 20th album "Letter To You" in 2020. By the way the new version is really super good!



Live version a few weeks later in Kansas City.



He doesn't sound anything like Bob Dylan in the versions above but does to me in the 2020 version.



Janey Needs A Shooter.

1972 Piano solo demo. Notes from Video - Here is the solo piano demo from 1972. I offer this for you to enjoy as you compare this early version (where it all began) to the new version. The newly released version uses the arrangement from the previously uploaded band rehearsal from 1979. It is exciting for those of us who have heard these recording all these years to finally hear "Janey" in all its glory! Fun times indeed!



From same YouTube channel 1979 version - This is a rare recording made during band rehearsals back in 1979. The song goes all the way back to 1972 and there is a version that is just Bruce playing the piano. The version in this video is a whole band work up of the song. "Janey Needs A Shooter" finally saw the light of day in October of 2020 when a brand new recording was officially released on Bruce's 20th LP called "Letter To You". It has this same arrangement! Incredible!



2020 version



Warren Zevon's Jeannie Needs a Shooter.

 
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RussellEbertHandball

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A mate from uni and footy days was a big Warren Zevon fan and was the one that told me he and Bruce were mates and collaborated on stuff. Decided to look at Jeannie Needs a Shooter and on Zevon's Wiki page for his Stand in the Fire album, it says;

Track listing
All songs written by Warren Zevon unless otherwise indicated.

Side one
  1. "Stand in the Fire" – 3:26
  2. "Jeannie Needs a Shooter" (Bruce Springsteen, Zevon) – 4:00
...........

And this story from e street shuffle fan website explains the link between the songs and how Zevon pestered Bruce to play it and then help him with his version and


Only after Bruce and Warren had finished writing the song did Bruce actually play his original outtake for Warren, who sheepishly realized he’d inferred an entirely different storyline for the titular character.

And we might think that would be the end of the story–but not quite........................

Also from that link it confirms Bruce removed a verse between the priest and cop that had the mechanic. Its in the original 1972 verse above but was removed in the 1979 and 2020 version.

Janey loved a mechanic who owned a gas station down on Route 9
Well she took him to bed and I beat my head on his gas tanks and bled all over his tires
And then he smashed my car with his big tow bar. I got out and asked him why
He said “Cause with her it’s either you or me, and it’s gonna be me”
And I watched Janey silently stand by


Original version about the cop

Then she flopped with a cop who lived round the block
He’d come peek in my window every night
Janey’s skin would turn pale as the siren he’d wail
Outside my house all night long when he knew she was inside
She said his big gun was fun but Janey’s small, and sometimes he scared her
So I held her real close, she was more a saint than a ghost
And told her I so long had been prepared for her


The change in 1979

Well Janey's got a cop who lives round the block
and checks on her every night
From at through the jail outside her house his siren roars
when he knows that I'm inside
Well Janey's small and sometimes he scares her
So I held her real close she flowed like a ghost
And i told her bye, so long, I can't play that dope.

The change in 2020

Well Janey's got a cop who lives round the block
and checks on her every night
And her skin would turn pale as the siren
he'd wail outside
when he knows that I'm inside
Janey's small and sometimes he scared her
So I held her real close
she was more a saint than a ghost
And told her I so long had been prepared for her
 
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Ford Fairlane

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On Nebraska, the title track has always taken my breath away, both the topic and stripped back storytelling. Singing about the Starkweather spree murders as a topic is incredibly risky. These were extremely brutal, senseless killings, a watershed in American criminal history. They were nearly inexplicable and in the end Springsteen's narrative puts it down to a meanness in this world. Probably as close to an explanation as you could get. A haunting track that says so much with an economy of lyrics.
 

Ma Xiao Long

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BTR clear number 1.

It's tough to split after that.

WIESS, Greetings and Darkness all have several tracks from each that are in my top 10.

Letter To You, Western Stars, The Rising and Magic not far behind either.

What are yours?
Pretty obvious three, but...

1. Born to Run
2. Nebraska
3. Darkness on the Edge of Town
 

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