Sunday, 26 June 2011

It Takes Two

Last week’s blog was easier to write than I imagined it would be.  I wrote it on a wave of emotion and jotted down my thoughts as they came to me.  This week it has been harder. 
Clarence has been on my mind on and off all week.  People grieve in all sorts of ways.  I am what you might call a sporadic griever.  By this I mean I am sad in chunks rather than all the time. Even when the news broke I didn’t spend the day thinking about it but certain things have happened during the week that brought tears to my eyes.  Tenth Avenue Freeze Out on Radio 2 Monday morning.  Bobby Jean popping up on the iPod on the bus Thursday morning.  Brian Fallon’s little speech before he played The 59 Sound at Glastonbury.  
My dad died way back in 1977.  I had just turned 19 and everyone said I coped so well.  I did.  I got over it quickly yet I still cry now sometimes when Morecambe and Wise appear on the TV (they were his favourite).   I miss him to this day.  I always will.
And I will always miss Clarence.

So it’s the tone and content of this week’s blog that I’ve pondered over.  Do I simply go back to the blog  I was writing before our world was turned on it’s head?  Do I talk more about Clarence or do I talk about what might happen next?
I have flirted with Greasy Lake this week but everyone still seems so raw and many folks aren’t quite ready to move on. I’m not sure if I want to hear about other peeps grief.  it only makes me more sad and can be a self perpetuating thing stopping us ever being ready to move on.  I’ve not been near for a few days.  I need my thoughts to be my own.  Need to deal with it in my own way without outside influence.

I admit I am one of those who, with a sad heart, is ready to look ahead.
Lets be honest there have been threads wondering what would happen if Clarence wasn’t ever well enough to perform again so it’s not a new discussion.  It’s just that we didn't really believe he would never play again.  I suppose we always thought Danny would come back again too.  We told ourselves Charlie was only a temporary replacement.  We accepted him as such, and when the worst happened, we were already used to him.
So, with apologies to those of you who are not ready to consider the future, I give you my thoughts.  What about a horns section?  This has been suggested often enough in the past.  Bruce can then play what he wants, with or without a saxophone solo, and when the time comes no single person has to be front and centre...just a thought. 
As I am writing this I feel as if I need some light relief after all and there is one thing I had been thinking about - not entirely seriously.  Consider these three facts:-
  1. We think Bruce’s new producer is Ron Aniello - Patti’s man
  2. Bruce has done a bunch of duets in the last year or so with various artists
  3. Bruce and Patti did do that duet recently for the Every Mother Counts CD
and there's this

So next album - Patti and Bruce doing an album of covers !!  I’ve been thinking of songs they could try:-
Islands in the Stream 
Something Stupid
I got you Babe
And what about 
Cinderella Rockefella or Save Your Love - for those of you outside the UK you may not be familiar with these gems.  Believe it or not they both got to number 1 over here.

See what you can come up with.  You can use the comments box for your suggestions or my Facebook friends can post your thoughts there!!

If you can't think of any there's a list of famous duets here.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Don't Cry Because It's Over...

I was still in bed when Mike told me that Clarence had died.  I was patting myself on the back for holding it all together.  Being British I'm not sure about outpourings of grief for people you don't really know.  Then Mike played Back in Your Arms and I shed more than a tear or two.  We are all going to miss this man so much.

We first saw Bruce live in 1993 on the Human Touch/Lucky Town tour.  Both of us were absolutely clueless about The E Street Band.  We wouldn't have recognised a band member if we had fallen over them in the street BUT we did know that there was a big black man who played the sax.  He wasn't on that tour of course but it only goes to prove that, apart from Bruce, with no disrespect to the other band members, Clarence is the only person most non Bruce fans would know about.

I bought Mike a saxophone for his 50th birthday. He was keen to learn some Clarence solos. Although he mastered a few songs, his tutor was a jazz musician and the rock tunes were never accomplished. Perhaps now he'll try again.

Today as we all mourn together many words have been written about how much we will miss the Big Man.  You Tube clips showing off his skills have come thick and fast. BBC and Sky news reported his death. Johnnie Walker finished his Radio 2 programme with Jungleland which surely includes the ultimate Clemons sax solo

The last time I saw Clarence live was at Madison Square Garden 8th November 2009.  I can't mention this weekend without reminding you that it was the best few days of my life so I pick my special Clarence moment from that weekend.

I last saw him on TV only a few weeks ago on stage with Lady Gaga at the American Idol finale.  He may not have been playing with Bruce but given Gaga's popularity he couldn't have been much more 'on trend'.  We know from what Clarence himself had said that he was thrilled to have been asked to play with her and, because of the Lady Gaga connection, at the time of his death it's possible Clarence was more famous than Bruce himself!  He would have wanted to leave us at the top of his game, and my word, he did just that.

Since the last tour there has been much speculation about whether The E Street band would ever tour again.  Maybe they won't but there's one thing for sure Born To Run will never be the same without a sax solo.  If Clarence is not there to play it will Bruce employ someone else?  If he does will the stage set up remain the same?  I don't know but ...

Whatever happens and whoever stands there Clarence's side of the stage will always be Clarence's side of the stage and his spirit will be there  - always.

To round off here is the statement from

It is with overwhelming sadness that we inform our friends and fans that at 7:00 tonight, Saturday, June 18, our beloved friend and bandmate, Clarence Clemons passed away. The cause was complications from his stroke of last Sunday, June 12th.

Bruce Springsteen said of Clarence: Clarence lived a wonderful life. He carried within him a love of people that made them love him. He created a wondrous and extended family. He loved the saxophone, loved our fans and gave everything he had every night he stepped on stage. His loss is immeasurable and we are honored and thankful to have known him and had the opportunity to stand beside him for nearly forty years. He was my great friend, my partner, and with Clarence at my side, my band and I were able to tell a story far deeper than those simply contained in our music. His life, his memory, and his love will live on in that story and in our band.

And finally I'm stealing a quote from Dr Seuss :-

Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Busy, busy, busy

Sorry folks.  I have a deadline to meet for a doll I am making so really have no time to blog this week.  I've found something for you to read though from today's Observer - number 29 in the 50 key events in rock history.

And along with something to read is something to look at and listen to.

Breaking news - I've managed to ween myself off listening to Bruce ALL the time.  I've found out there is stuff on my iPod that I don't even know!!  The Gaga album is ace.

And finally here's a picture of the last doll I made

It's Claudio Sanchez from a band called Coheed and Cambria.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Forever Young

So someone has copied Lady Gaga Born This Way for me.  I know I know - it's not strictly above board - well not at all above board, but as I probably wouldn't have bought the CD myself, I'm not actually doing any body out of any royalties.

I'd like to say I really enjoy today's chart music but apart from one or two tracks I don't care for it.  I try to listen though from time to time just to keep my ear in.  I have a fear of getting behind the times.  I come across people, many who are a good few years younger than me, who don't have a mobile phone or don't use the internet and even one or two people who don't use a credit card and I can't believe they admit to this.  Why would you want to live in the middle ages?

I have wrinkles, aches, pains and my hair is going grey but I try to keep my brain up to date. It's getting increasingly difficult.  Nowadays my head is so full when one bit of info goes in another has to leave to make way.

Anyway I do computers, smart phones, MP3 players etc so I think I'm keeping up quite well but... Lady Gaga?  I don't have any track listings - any info at all - so just put the CD in and off we went. Well I'd like to be able to tell you that I love the album but I'm not sure if I really do. It's OK but I wonder if I am forcing myself to listen because I don't want to feel old.

I knew Clarence was playing on one of the tracks - didn't know which one. There is one song though I have played a good few times - yep really love this one.  Surprise surprise it has saxophone on it and yes there's the Big Man.  Here it is from The American Idol finale


Back to more usual stuff. On Friday we, along with a few hundred other middle aged music lovers, went to see Nils Logfren in Bradford.  It was more or less that same show we saw last year, and although I enjoyed it more this time, I don't think we would have gone if we had realised we had seen it before.  I recognised more of the songs this time but as I have mentioned before I'm not so keen on long guitar solos.  This is a problem when you go to see Nils because most of the audience are waiting for ... the long guitar solos!

Of course he did Because The Night but I'm a bit bored with this at the moment.  A request for If I Should Fall Behind was a surprise.  This is one of the songs that Mike would like to hear live.  Well he's heard it now but I expect this isn't exactly what he meant.

Next up for us John Mellencamp in July then Bryan Adams later in the year.  Well gotta do something when Bruce isn't touring.

Had we not booked for Nils we may have mortgaged the house and bought two tickets for Rod Stewart at Elland Road.  I understand they were expensive seats, but as we could have walked there, we'd have saved on transport costs.  I've seen Rod before and have a soft spot for him because he was my first credible music hero back in the early seventies. By credible I mean he wasn't a teen idol.  He was a well respected musician until he 'sold out' and moved to America.

Mentioning Rod reminds me that I was going to talk about Bob Dylan the other week.  Rod does some great covers of Dylan songs on his early albums.  I'm not a huge Dylan fan - I like a lot of his well known songs but don't know any of the more obscure stuff.  I hear he's very charismatic on stage but I can't imagine it myself.

Anyway Bob was 60 the other week and Radio 2 did a series of programmes about him.  I'm sure I've seen pieces in the past suggesting Bob doesn't like Bruce.  Perhaps some of it stems from this Travelling Wilburys' song which Dylan wrote and is obviously a piss take of Bruce.

It makes me smile, actually, and I can imagine Bruce having a little chuckle when he heard it.

Bruce has done many a Dylan cover and there is a great blog here with some links to some of them.

Chimes of Freedom is a favourite of mine.  I heard the Bruce version first - didn't even know it was a Dylan song at the time.

And finally this week a blog from a non Bruce fanatic.  I found it an interesting read - somebody who admires our man but not necessarily for his music.

Although the writer doesn't realise it I think there are many many of us who admire Bruce for his integrity, his work ethic and his power to inspire us in a way that isn't necessarily just about the music.