Sunday, 30 October 2011

Trick or Treat?

This week I have been reading some tips on writing an effective blog.  Now, I write my blog purely for pleasure so the money making side doesn't interest me.  In fact most of the hints and tips aren't really appropriate but the thing that comes up time and again in blog writing advice is that you need to be passionate about your subject.

Of course, for the most part, your readers have to be as passionate about your subject as you are.  No one is going to be interested in the weekly musings of an ordinary woman from Leeds unless she is writing about a subject they are interested in.  So, I am passionate about my subject and I assume you are too.  Lets be honest, if you weren't passionate about Bruce you would think I was just a little odd!!  Well, I am a little odd but that's another story.

Every time I go into HMV (and that can be quite often as it is a handy little short cut from one side of town to the other)  I have a compulsion to have just a quick look at the Springsteen CDs.  I don't flick through them or anything but I just like to know that there is still a full compliment on display!

This holds good for other shops too.  In Waterstones I usually check the biographies and in W H Smiths I browse through the music magazines.  I was in one of those bargain book shops this week looking for stationery when I spied a book about rock T shirts.  I couldn't help myself - I just had to have a little peek at the index to see if Bruce was included.  He was... but I didn't recognised the t shirt.

In a music shop that I pass on a regular basis I can see, through the window, a guitar that looks like Bruce's famous Telecaster.  I say looks like because from the price it is obvious it's not... I'm so tempted to buy it.

So... I have a question for you - Is this a passion, an obsession or just an eccentricity?

Although The (Bruce) world and his wife have shared this with you over the past few days I can't let this weekend go by without including it here

The Springsteen rumour mill usually runs smooth but I don't remember any mention of this in advance of it appearing.  It was a great surprise to me at the time and I absolutely love the video.

Finally this week I've stolen this picture from Angela Cotena's Facebook page

Happy Halloween Everyone!

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Let's Hear It For The Banjo Player

If I am still in the kitchen at 7.00pm I usually catch the beginning of the show that comes on to Radio 2 at that time.  The hour between 7.00pm and 8.00pm is, what can best be described as, the specialist hour. Monday is jazz, Tuesday blues and Thursday Bob Harris' country.  Those of you who know me well won't be surprised that I often listen to the country show. 

Wednesday is folk with Mike Harding (yes that's Mike Harding the comedian). Some of the music he plays is OK.  He featured a couple of Seeger Sessions tracks when the album was released.  This week he played Crooked Still.  Bruce poached Greg Lizst from Crooked Still to play the banjo in The Seeger Sessions Band. Here he is doing his stuff.

It reminded me of a story, which I don't think I've told you before, about the time we went to see Crooked Still.  I think it would have been in 2007.  Now Mike and I aren't particular fans off folk but it's reasonably inoffensive stuff and we are quite open minded when it comes to trying new genres of music.  Nevertheless I don't think we would have found ourselves sitting in The National Centre For Early Music in York waiting for Crooked Still if it hadn't been for the Bruce connection. The National Centre For Early music is a lovely place which I assume was once a church but it doesn't hold many people and we aren't familiar with the folky crowd.  We applauded politely along with everyone else after each song.  It was pleasant enough but nothing too exciting.  

Anyway part way through the show the lead singer introduces the band members...and on the banjo Greg Lizst who has recently been playing with Bruce Springsteen.  Well Mike and I cheered - I think it's an instinctive sort of thing when Bruce's name is mentioned - and there was deathly silence.  I could feel eyes boring into the back of my head. It was obviously NOT the thing to do when you are sat in the middle of an audience who are obviously rather serious about their music!  

We did meet a Laker there though who approached us afterwards to say 'Hi'.  He had the good sense to keep his mouth shut during the gig.

Excitement this week as Bruce played The Stone Pony.  There's a great detailed article at  I had a little chuckle at the story Bruce apparently told about meeting the fans from Sweden who had travelled to see Asbury Park and him.  Surely he wasn't surprised to find that fans did this sort of thing.  You've go to think that almost every day there is somebody walking down that boardwalk because of Bruce.

We spent a day there - almost two years ago now - and I loved it.  I know it used to be a bit run down. Here's a post on a forum I've just read:-

'Asbury Park has a great infrastructure, it's a pretty town especially east of main st., but the inhabitants are what will kill any renaissance. Too many gangstas, crack heads and transvestite prostitutes make for a very ugly urban scene that only the hardiest of pioneers and boosters would tolerate'

Hmmmm well we didn't see any gangstas or crack heads and as for transvestite prostitutes? I do wonder whether, as Springsteen fans, we see Asbury Park through rose tinted spectacles.  A place where the sun constantly shines, where we can sit on the boardwalk sipping wine or walk along the beach: a place where there's always good music to listen to and a chance of hearing Bruce play or, better still, meeting him.  

I'd go back again in a heartbeat.  I'd certainly be there for the Light of Day concerts in 2012 if I could afford it but we need all the money we can muster for a Bruce tour next year.  

In the mean time if no album materialises in November how about an album of new songs next year and a Christmas album in December!  I love a good Christmas song.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Talk To Me

We first saw Southside Johnny at The Leadmill in Sheffield in November 2005.  That night he only sang a couple of songs we knew.  One was The Fever.  I can't remember the other but I suspect it was another Bruce song. This was also the first time we encountered Bernie. For those of you who don't know Bernie is a little chap with long grey hair and a unique way of dancing.  He can be seen at Bruce gigs all over the world.

Last night The Picturedrome in Holmfirth was our 5th show, and although Johnny sang a lot more songs which I know, I'm still at that stage where I often don't recognise them until we get to the chorus! The Fever was in the set list again. This is a bit of a sing-a-long for the audience and any Springsteen fan would recognise the song straight away. Talk To Me is taken at quite a lick. The crowd like to sing along to this too, as can be heard from the rather out of tune audience participation from Holmfirth a couple of years ago! - skip to about 3.40. There aren't many folks who are worse singers than me but this could be one of them.

Mike and I knew Southside's version of this before it became familiar to all of us when it was featured on 'The Promise'.  Hearts Of Stone is also a Southside classic and I prefer his version of All The Way Home to Bruce's. We are still waiting to hear this live.

Here they are doing that version together.

A Southside show doesn't give me the collywobbles in the same way as a Springsteen gig does. I'm so excited before a Bruce show I can hardly eat. The first show of a new tour is always the worst. Will it be as good as the last tour? How will the new songs sound? How will Bruce sound? How many of the classics will we hear? Will we get any of the songs from the more recent albums?  Once that first show is out of the way I relax a little but there is a special frisson of excitement before any Bruce show that nothing else can match...nothing else at all!

Don't get me wrong I was really looking forward to Saturday but whether it was a good or bad show wasn't so important to me. Actually I've never seen either Bruce or Johnny put on a bad show.  There are some I've enjoyed more than others but that's down to the set list. Can't fault the effort they both put in night after night.

Anyway I took my trusty little note book with me to try to piece together the set list. I knew I would have to be creative with my notes as the titles of most songs would elude me.  I popped down a line or two if I had no clue but it was surprisingly easy to work out the title once I had heard the chorus through a couple of times.

Here's the (almost) full list

Cross That Line
I Played The Fool
Baby Don't Lie
All Night Long
Gin Soaked Boy
Without Love
Lead Me On
Why Is Love Such A Sacrifice
I Remember Last Night
Harder Than It Looks
Walk Away Renee
Number One Son
Love On The Wrong Side Of Town
This Time It's For Real
Talk To Me

A couple sung by the keyboard player
A Song For You (The Carpenters)
I'm A Man(The Spencer Davis Group)

I Don't Wanna Go Home
Trapped Again
The Fever
One More Night To Rock
Hearts Of Stone

Oh and Bernie was there.

The latest rumour on the Bruce album front is a release date of February 2012.  I love a good bout of speculation but even I am getting a bit cheesed off with all this now.  Lets hope that the next time we hear anything it's a bit more concrete.

Bruce is planning to get himself up on stage though.  He's going to be in Pittsburgh with Joe Grushecky on 3rd and 4th of November.  For anyone who wants to see some earlier performances check out Blogness on the Edge of Town.

That's all for this week.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

I'm Going Down To Lucky Town

Music is always in my life.  If you are a regular reader you will know I have my iPod with me wherever I go: I listen to the radio quite a lot, mostly, but not always BBC radio 2: my colleagues and I can often be heard humming along to ourselves whilst tapping away on the keyboard and sometimes I even wake up with a song already in my head.  Yes music is with me all the time but usually in the background.

The only time we really settle down to listen to an album is when a new Bruce album comes out.  This is an event in our house.  We sit down together probably with a glass of something and really pay attention.  We might not speak at all during the first play through but then discuss our initial impressions before listening again.  The album will then follow us around for a week or two. It'll be on in the kitchen whilst I'm cooking, it'll be on in the car, it'll get loaded up to iTunes and the iPods.  It will be played in isolation and in order.  Then it's likely to be put away on the shelf and I'll only hear a track if it comes up during my IPod shuffle.

Someone on Greasy Lake said they like to be in control of their music so shuffle isn't an option for them.  I'm the opposite.  I don't like to know what is coming up next.  I think that's why I still find the radio so interesting.  I like to hear new songs, artists I've never heard of and I like to hear an old song that I'd forgotten about.  If a Springsteen song comes on the radio it absolutely makes my day!

We have a radio or CD player in every room in our house but only two TVs. Perhaps if we had a TV in the kitchen I might watch that but as it is we have a radio/CD player. The radio goes on as soon as I get downstairs in the morning and often at night whilst I'm cooking tea. The exception to this might be if we have a new album by somebody other than Bruce.  This, of course, doesn't require as much attention as a new Springsteen release so it's usually a background thing.

I mention all this because this week I suddenly deviated from the norm and got an old Bruce album out of the CD rack to play in the kitchen. This really is unusual and what's even stranger is that I chose Lucky Town.  Now I have a soft spot for both Lucky Town and Human Touch.  They weren't the first albums we bought - that predictably was BITUSA - but significantly the HT/LT tour was the first live show we saw.  As we all know once you see the man live you are hooked for life.

Well I bopped around and sang along and really enjoyed hearing this for the first time in it's entirety  since... well it must be fifteen years!  I gave myself a telling off for bowing to what I perceive to be pressure from the Bruce community to dislike this album.  OK so it's not the E Street Band - in fact according to the sleeve it's mainly Bruce.  It's a great, uplifting, hopeful album and - yes - I like it.

I haven't played Human Touch but Man's Job is a guilty pleasure and Human Touch (the track itself) includes one of my favourite lines - You can't shut off the risk and the pain without losin' the love that remains.

There aren't many songs from these albums that we hear live nowadays.  Human Touch pops up from time to time and I think Bruce gives us Living Proof on occasion.  If I Should Fall Behind crops up a fair bit and I was surprised to find that the recorded version sounded sort of unfamiliar.  Bruce has obviously changed the rhythm and emphasis of the song over the years.  I've probably become accustomed to The Live in NYC version.

I remember someone saying once that their favourite version of Thunder Road was the original recording because they didn't like the way Bruce changed the emphasis of the words.  Is it called the cadence?  I had the same problem with the acoustic version of The Rising. I couldn't get to grips with the melody at all.

Last week Sting was 60 and we all know that our man did a bit of a turn.

Now his voice is great and I must say I really like it but he's certainly changed the lilting melody of the original.  Here's Sting's version for comparison.

Here in the UK we have had a bit of excitement this week because Jessica Springsteen is riding at The Horse Of The Year Show.  Sadly we have felt compelled to watch the TV coverage on the off chance we might catch a glimpse of dad and to cheer on Jessica - not very patriotic of us!

I have an excuse as I used to follow show jumping when I was younger.  I've actually enjoyed catching up with the sport and I think Mike is getting quite into it now.

... So off to watch Jessica in The Leading Show Jumper Of The Year competition.

Sunday, 2 October 2011


...No NOT the Fleetwood Mac Album

Is anyone else checking Shorefire Media every few hours just on the off chance there's a press release? 

Does anyone really believe the information that comes out from any other source?  Well - no - but we all so WANT to believe.  This is why the rumour about 'Arcade at Night' took off so spectacularly.  Some peeps thought there might be a grain of truth in the rumour so, to put it politely, others called them idiots. Heated arguments ensued on some of the threads I've seen this week.  Come on guys we have a common passion - music we love - so why do we have to be so hateful to each other.  Argue, discuss, disagree but there's no need to get personal is there?

The person who runs a FB page called 'Bruce Springsteen News' is seriously thinking of giving up because of the abuse she receives in personal emails.  Now all this woman does is post up news that has appeared on the internet elsewhere.  She doesn't claim to agree or disagree with it, or filter it in any way, she just copies it for peeps to see. Why would anyone give her grief?  Fortunately she has now received a whole load of messages in support. Perhaps that will redress the balance.

You might say that the person who started the album rumour deserves some abuse but let's be honest a lot of the sites that reported the news were sceptical - here's Blogness - and if professional journalists chose to report stuff that hasn't been ratified well that's pure laziness on their part.  I suppose it depends on the individual but I can't get angry about this.  I'm as passionate about Bruce and his music as the next man but it isn't life and death.  So someone had a joke at our expense. It kept the message boards buzzing for a day or two and perhaps taught us a bit of a lesson.  Just to be sure here's today's post from Blogness

So I say again... is anyone checking Shorefire Media every few hours just on the off chance there's a press release?  Lets stick to the official source.

Another rumour surfaced in the local Florence paper.  This is the Google translation which reads a bit strangely in places:-

(01 October 2011)

Bruce Springsteen in Florence
The Boss returns to the stage

At eight years of extraordinary concert at the American rocker Franks on the verge of signing the contract

FLORENCE closer to Bruce Springsteen: We are on the verge of signing contracts that could bring the great American rocker live in our city, next summer at the Franchi stadium. Exactly nine years after a memorable concert in front of thirty-five thousand spectators, the largest mass live event in our city in these two thousand years. 

Insufficient signatures, they said, and in the running are two other Italian cities, Udine and Bari, but Florence is a clear advantage because the management of Springsteen and the artist remain a beautiful memory of that night. What's more, it would, at least for the moment, the only Italian date European tour.

Yeah, just turned 62 Springsteen back on tour in Europe.The occasion is the release of highly anticipated new album of unreleased, whose exact date is still under debate among specialists (who says this year, another in spring). It is certain that this is also the first tour without Clarence Clemons, who died June 18 last year, the saxophonist who has left a void in the blackest estreet Band. The idea of ​​the "Boss" in this sense is all'assetto return of the Seventies, with the same horn section at that time, a solution that would be more welcome to fans as well as the new producer Ron Aniello.

In fact, on websites and blogs of fans from two or three days, talking about it, and if Florence was able to really grab an exclusive event like this would be a blow that can revive the fortunes of a Summer Fiorentina rather stingy of great names, returning at once on an international stage.

(01 October 2011)© All rights reserved

This may also be a load of rubbish but as I quite fancy a trip to Italy I've checked out the local airport and we can fly to Pisa which is OK for Florence.  Hey, It's hopes and dreams that keep us going in this life!

Anyway thinking of Florence I thought I'd check out YouTube for some earlier Bruce shows in the city and a search brought up this:-

In case that disappointed you there's also this:-

It's the anniversary of the release of Magic today. Now I love Magic. It has been suggested by someone very close to me that I 'love' things a bit too much but I really DO love Magic. There are only a couple of tracks that I don't really care for. The 2007 December show at the O2 has to be one of my favourites not least because we got to wear our Santa Hats!

As I started to write this post we were still waiting for some You Tube footage from Sting's birthday bash.  I've just checked again and here we are!

If you are interested in reading about it too, here's a report from Rolling Stone  and checkout this piece from The Mail  a UK newspaper which is more about the fashion than the music.

Finally I got a surprise text from my husband during the week.  He in turn had received it from his boss (not The Boss) who had got it via Twitter.   I've heard of couples texting risque photos of each other but this!