Saturday, 26 February 2011

They Do Bring My Money Home In Crates

I found this today.  if you click on it now, leave the site open, then nip back when you have finished reading you will find out how much Bruce has earned in that time.

My Bruce buddy - Sinead - owns one of Bruce's harmonicas.  He gave it to her during the Bilbao gig on 26 July 2009.  We are trying to think of a cool way of displaying it so this week I have been browsing various sites to get ideas.  I came across this, which must have cost a bomb, but given my love of guitars, I think it's just gorgeous.  If you are interested the site is here

The other week you may remember I bought Sara Elizabeth Goodman's novel Beyond The Palace.  In the absence of a publisher she has decided to go it alone.  The book is available to buy on Amazon and I have to say I really enjoyed it.   Sara is a big Bruce fan.  There is a link to her blog Sara*ndipity in my list below

If you are snobby about your reading you may think the writing needs to be polished a bit.  It might need editing here and there but the story itself really pulled me in.  The content helped of course.  It's basically about two people who meet at a Bruce gig during The Rising tour and their relationship over the course of the tour and beyond.

It's an easy read with an intriguing mystery surrounding one of the characters and a sweet, sometimes angry, love story.   I would recommend it.  Perhaps a good present for a Bruce fan you know although Bruce isn't central to the plot.

I haven't much to say myself this week so I have browsed around the many other music blogs on the net and found this post.  It's only short but says it all.

Lastly for this week, if you are aching for some Bruce to watch, check out these clips that The Rolling Stone site has gathered together featuring Bruce's collaborations.  I haven't watched them all but the chap you can hear at the beginning of the Arcade Fire clip is soooo excited I thought he might pass out!

Sunday, 20 February 2011

The Promise - I didn't know I had it!

There is a thread on Greasy Lake about ‘Cynthia’.  

The guy who started it had just stumbled across the song and couldn’t believe he hadn’t heard it before.   I dare said he had played it previously but it hadn’t registered until that moment.  It’s a Tracks problem I think.  Getting four albums at once might mean you miss a gem.  Perhaps you weren’t really listening at the time.  Maybe in ‘Cynthia’s’ case it’s because it’s the first track and you hadn’t quite settled down.  

For me after a few listens I liked album 2 so much I rarely played the other three.  Having said that I know many of the songs, although, for the most part I couldn’t tell you which track belongs on which album.  For those of you who can tell instantly the difference between a Darkness era track and, say, a BITUSA era track you must think this strange but my ears aren’t so refined.     
We bought a lot of the back catalogue at the same time and suffered from the having too- many-albums-to-play-at-once phenomenon.  At first everything sort of merged into one.  Many a time I have only really listened to a song because someone on Greasy Lake had extolled the virtues or sometimes remarked how much they hate a particular track.
Anyway ‘Cynthia’ I knew but... I didn’t know that I already had a version of ‘The Promise’ until a Laker asked for peeps to name their top five songs from Tracks and The Promise.  The replies included 'The Promise (18 Tracks version)' and 'The Promise (full Band version)'.
Now 18 Tracks passed me by because I thought, until only two or three years ago, that 18 Tracks included the same songs as Tracks only fewer (obviously).  When I found out my mistake I bought 18 Tracks but to be honest I’m not sure I really listened to it.
So unbeknown to me I already had this version knocking around and yesterday what should pop up on the iPod but the version from The Definitive Darkness Outtakes Collection.  Now I have three versions.  I like the one from The Promise best which I assume is the one referred to previously as the full band version.
And my point is? ....  There may still be things to discover in my Bruce collection.  Perhaps I should start at the beginning and work my way through to see if there is something there I missed before.   I might have to start loading up a new iTunes library soon so there’s my opportunity - Mary Queen of Arkansas here I come.

This week when I was looking around for stuff of interest I found this


I would love one of these but it got me wondering about the other unofficial stuff out there.  There are loads of T shirts mugs etc. of course.

Tried to find something really naf and this was the best I could do - It’s a ceramic tile from here

Fridge magnets

I quite like these but I don't have a fridge to put them on.

And on the subject of Bruce stuff I have started a new hobby - making fabric dolls.  I’ve made two so far using a book for instructions.  My third very similar one is on it’s way.  When I have honed my craft I hope to branch out into male dolls and yes! I thought I would have a go at Bruce.  Can’t promise to get the features right but with brown eyes, the right hair (I’ve bought wool already in an appropriate colour - brown with a hint of grey), black T shirt and jeans and a guitar he might just be recognisable.  I’ll be posting the finished articles out to friends for feedback!!    

Some good news this week to balance up the bad from a couple of weeks ago from GL. - Max hints at a tour in 2012???

And lastly for now Mike and I had one of those conversations this week - It reminded me of these two

but our chat was much shorter and went something like this
Me  ‘They’ve offered me more hours at work”
Mike  ‘Do you want to do them?  You don’t have to.  We can manage without the extra money’
Me  ‘But I can put the money away towards the next Bruce tour’
Mike  ‘that probably won’t be until next year.  We can save up anyway’
Me  'yeah but we will want to go to every gig he does in UK and Ireland... and maybe one in USA’
Mike just looks at me.  I can see this is news to him but he doesn’t object.  Is he wondering how to persuade me that four shows will be enough?  Is he thinking of a smart answer?  Is he hoping I will change my mind?  No - I think he’s just resigned to it.  

Friday, 11 February 2011

Well I Got This Guitar

By the time I was 19 I had moved away from home but still returned every weekend to go out with my school friends to the local disco.

Around about this time my sister in law - Irene - and I decided we wanted to learn to play the acoustic guitar.  My first guitar had been bought many years before with Green Shield Stamps.  For those of you who are too young to remember, these were the equivalent of today's Tesco Reward card and the like.  In the olden days you were given stamps which you stuck in a book.  Along with this you had a catalogue, out of which you chose gifts, which were bought with the stamps.  I can't imagine how many books my mum and dad had to fill to buy a guitar but it must have been at least a sack full.  I don't know how old I was but my hand was too small to reach around the neck and the guitar soon ended up in the garage damp, warped and unplayable.  Not quite Bruce's guitar story but then he has a lot more determination than I will ever have.

Anyway I had my second guitar by the time my brother - Ian - rather rashly agreed to teach us.  He and Irene lived just down the road from my mum so my guitar travelled back and forth with me each weekend.

In a previous blog I mentioned how Ian had taught himself to play and told you how proud we all were of him.  I would watch his fingers form the chords and pluck the strings and itched to be able to do it myself. You will often find me at gigs concentrating on the guitarist's hands - yes ladies even at a Springsteen gig but then I watch his hands a lot because I love the way he does that kind of pointy thing and the way he conducts the band.  I digress but it gives me an excuse to include this

Ian is a teacher - not a guitar teacher but teaching is teaching I suppose - unless your wife and sister are the (rather unruly) pupils. We each had an exercise book in which we wrote the words and the chord changes for the songs we learnt.  'Sloop John B' was the first.  I also remember 'Singing The Blues' 'The Streets of Toledo' and a song which I am ashamed to say I didn't know at the time but which has since become a favourite - Roy Orbison's 'In Dreams'.

Now I can't sing!  I mean I really can't sing!!  I trill along to the radio and CDs all the time.  Mike remarks with much surprise if I am in tune but mostly he just asks me, not always jokingly, to be quiet.  My best mate Jacquie, who is a great singer, admitted in a truthful moment that my singing is really out of tune but at least I will never turn up on X Factor with false hope.

I sound OK to me but even I have to confess that my 'Born To Run' is awful.  My 'In Dreams' was bad too and therein lies the rub.  When you are strumming chords nobody knows what you are playing unless you sing the melody.  In my case nobody knows what I'm playing even when I do sing along!

Irene really wanted to play Bob Dylan: specifically a song called 'Visions Of Johanna'.  I had to buy Blonde on Blonde to learn it but because of this I gained an appreciation of Dylan which had escaped me before.  I assume Ian simplified the arrangement for us and removed the difficult chords and we could do a passable version in the end.

I am ashamed to say our lessons were short lived.  Frustration set in and that guitar went the same way as the first.

The grounding was there, though, and many years later when I decided to try again I could still play those first few chords.  Must be like riding a bike - you never forget.  I decided to make a concerted effort about ten years ago.  I bought a new guitar and new how to play book, worked up some nice hard skin on my finger ends and, although I say so myself, I progressed a little.

Mike bought his own guitar and together we could manage a few tunes.  'Blowing in the Wind' was our party piece and I could do a passable strum along of 'The River'.  

I didn't crack it then and haven't played for ages although we still have the guitars hanging on the wall.

The dream hasn't died though so one day when we are all at some get together I hope to be able to whip out my guitar and lead a sing-a-long!

Now other snippets:-

Firstly -  Tim Rice has been presenting a Radio 2 show in which he looks at the music of each of the American States.  This week: New Jersey.  All the usual suspects were mentioned - Franki Valli, Frank Sinatra, Bon Jovi.  Had to wait until about three quarters through to get Bruce.  They played 'Tougher Than The Rest' - a good choice I thought.  Didn't get the impression Tim is a fan but he couldn't do a piece about musicians from NJ without mentioning him.

I was surprised to hear a song from Mary Chapin Carpenter.  I mention this especially for Elaine who isn't a fan of the country music genre.  Mary is one of my faves and I didn't know she was from NJ.  She has covered 'Dancing In The Dark' but luckily for you I couldn't find a YouTube clip.  There's this audio clip though.  I have to say not sure myself - a bit dreary maybe.

Secondly - I browse around the internet all the time hunting out stuff for this blog.  News is hard to find some weeks so clutching at straws comes to mind with this house for sale here?   I don't know why Springsteen Avenue is odd.  We name streets and even airports after people all the time.  We live near Asquith Avenue named after the Prime Minister but I don't think of him when I see the street.   Perhaps it's because Springsteen brings such a strong, immediate image to mind that it's hard to picture it as a bit of tarmac and some houses.

And finally kind of back to where we started with gifts  What a fab Christmas Present.  Thing is, as many of you know, I love my handy crafts - hmmmmm - do I feel a quilt coming on?

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Dancing in the Dark

I'm sure most of you know that story of how DITD came about.  The one that says Jon Landau needed a 'single' from Born in the USA. Bruce didn't want to fall into line, had no idea what to write about but came up with a song anyway.  Well I got up this morning to write my blog and I ain't got nothing to say.  Could do with changing my clothes, my hair and my face too but that's another story.

By the way 

In philosophy, "dancing in the dark" refers to any situational optimism, albeit leavened by physically-construed events, that is self-referentially seen as a way for the Id to manifest itself. 

OK can anyone explain that to me? 

There are a number of theories about what the phrase actually means from moving rhythmically to music with the lights out - which is, of course, true but rather literal - to we're all just going through the motions and the whole exercise is pointless.  

So just because:-

I picked this clip on purpose because we were there!  As I have said many times before the weekend we spent in New York City and New Jersey was the best few days of my life.  I still can hardly believe we did it.

The memories managed to sustain me for the best part of a year. Whenever the daily grind got me down I would remember how lucky I had been to make that trip, look through the photos and immediately life didn't seem so bad.  Now, though, more than twelve months on and in the dark days between New Year and Spring I need a lift that those memories alone can't give me -  a new tour !!!

There doesn't seem to be even a whiff on the horizon. Opinions range from Autumn this year to any time in 2012. There's been mention of Sam going to college next year so perhaps after that but what if Jessica is chosen for the Olympics?
Although this seems a little unlikely judging by this article.  

Anyway trawling through the internet for any news I found this 

Through trusted sources that I cannot devulge, the news on the E Street is that the band is breaking up. Little Stevie and Roy Bitten struck private deals with Bruce for more money which he accepted. The rest of the guys and ladies said to be leaving for sure. The riff is said to be over money which the band feels they deserve...being the E Street Band.
I certainly hope that this is only a rumor, but I am afraid its close to being true knowing the reliability of my source.

Scaremongering perhaps but who knows ?