Sunday, 31 July 2011

Well You Can't Like 'em All

I found this blog post earlier in the week which reminded me about my oft visited musings on my favourite 5 or 10 or 20 or whatever Springsteen songs.  Well I'm sure I can't chose only five.  I might make a stab at 10 but turning this on it's head might be easier for me.  So I am standing at the bus stop Thursday morning trying to think of the five Bruce songs that I like the least.  More accurately I'm trying to think of five songs I don't really like that are quite popular.

I'd already got to five by the time I had reached Human Touch/Lucky Town and here they are:-

It's Hard To Be A Saint In The City
Kitty's Back
Wild Billy's Circus Story
Meeting Across The River

I don't hate any of the above and there are others that nearly made the list instead but, for today, these are the ones I would choose.  I know at least one person reading this who will be aghast at one of my choices and Mike really likes Nebraska.  What do the rest of you think?

Photo by Mike Black taken from NJ. Com - link to story below

Well Tramps what about this then?  For those of us who have already had the good fortune to visit this spot do we now have a great excuse to go again for another picture?  Of course we do!

A few weeks ago I mentioned that I had stopped listening to my Bruce Playlist on the iPod and instead I have the whole music library on shuffle.  This makes for some interesting combinations especially as it's the whole of the library rather than just my choices.  Last week I got Leona Lewis followed by Nickelback.  OK I admit it I like Bleeding Love. OK I admit it I like Nickelback.

I get lots of Bruce of course.  His albums must make up a good 10% of our total collection.  I don't have the bootlegs on the iPod - just the official stuff.   I enjoy the lottery of not knowing what I am going to get next but still like it best when I get a Bruce song.  Last week, though, I realised I love a Gaslight Anthem track just as much.

Talking of GA there's a great interview with Brian Fallon here.  Are we going to like The Horrible Crowes?  At least we have something to look forward to in the absence of even a whisper on the Bruce front.  Also a good excuse to include a YouTube clip of one of our favourite Gaslight songs.

If you are feeling like something a bit more intellectual and are interested in American economics you can try this blog post with a Bruce mention of course.

And finally this week there's this little ditty.  Elaine - Block your ears!

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Back on Stage

Well a bit of excitement this week as Bruce took to the stage at The Wonder Bar.  Well technically it was last week but the information came up on the web too late for me to use it last Sunday.

Now I don't claim to be a Springsteen scholar. I listen to his music all the time, and of course, I know more about him - probably much more - than the average man in the street. I've never really gone searching around for obscure stuff, though as the years have gone on, I've got to know more and more. This means that there's often a surprise around the corner. I didn't know Bruce had written Savin' Up although it's listed on Greasy Lake under the 'Lyrics and Chords' section. I had to chuckle at the way Bruce needed to refer to the lyrics - he must have a memory like a sieve! He seems to be really enjoying himself  but looks, kind of, out of place. He almost appears to be a little shy, a little unsure of himself - it's quite endearing.

Here's the full set list if you are interested

Action in the Streets
  • Savin’ Up
  • Ain’t Too Proud to Beg
  • Sweet Soul Music
  • Shake
  • You Can’t Sit Down
  • Raise Your Hand
  • Knock on Wood
  • 634 5789

We always knew it wouldn't be too long before Bruce appeared on stage again and there were rumours he would be here this night as it was billed as a tribute to Clarence.  I still think the Springsteen community probably heaved a collective sigh of relief to see him up there looking fit and happy.

Two other performers in New Jersey this week:-

1. U2 who, at The Meadowlands, thanked 'Father Springsteen for the lend of the hall'.

Here is the man himself with Evan at the gig.

2.Taylor Swift who I understand often includes a cover in her set of a local artist or band and this was no different.

It's a full week of news this week.

We've all heard this lovely little story but it's worth repeating here.

Stacie Pullano Harkavy was with his daughter on a beach on the coast of Jersey, when Bruce appeared only in shorts and wearing sunglasses. The daughter of Stacie, Jolie, had her guitar with her & Bruce took the guitar from her and played a little bit of Born to Run. Bruce then signed the guitar and did a photo with children

Well.. we think it's a lovely little story but it's not everyone that would take kindly to some half dressed bloke coming along and nicking your guitar. Imagine if he ever did this sort of thing to someone who hadn't a clue who he was!

Then there's this story suggesting that if Bruce ran for Governor of New Jersey he might just win.  Don't think it's very likely.  Great photo of Bruce though.

And finally folks a bit of personal news.  Our Outside the Box CD came yesterday.  For the uninitiated OTB are playing regularly at The Stone Pony this year.  Mike and I, together with new found friends, saw them in Jesse Malin's New York club the weekend we were over in New York, for Bruce's MSG shows, in November 2009. We have followed their fortunes ever since. I've played the album three times so far and It's pretty good.  Can't chose a stand out track yet.  If you want a listen there are a couple of tracks on the link above.

This is their first album released through Kickstarter.  I donated some money to help which is why their thanks are on the sleeve.

And ... this is really last of all for this week simply because it was filmed in Norway - a country which I am sure is in our thoughts this weekend...

... and because it's Mike's favourite.

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Is It a Bird? Is It a Plane?...

No! it's Bruce Springsteen.

So the latest incarnation of Superman is based on Bruce Springsteen. Well what can I say? It's an obvious comparison. We all knew he was Superman anyway!

from Ultimate Classic Rock

I know nothing about comics but Grant Morrison is a Scottish comic book writer and playwright.  Don't know if he is a Bruce fan though but got to assume he is.

Now when I search around for stuff to talk about I simply Google 'Springsteen' and up pops anything that mentions Bruce.  I haven't come across this blog before, presumably because he hasn't featured our man previously.  There's a fab little quiz in this post.  It only takes 40 seconds so why not have a go.  I've only listened once and I was rubbish!  My brain works too slowly to reach into the memory for the song title before it's gone and I'm having to think about the next.

All the songs in the quiz are well known to us but Your Friday Bruce Fix has some unusual tracks for you to listen to.

I wouldn't say we think about Bruce all the time but we don't very often miss a connection however tenuous.  Last night we were watching the quiz that goes along with the lottery draw and there's a question about  characters in a John Steinbeck novel.  Didn't know the correct answer but did know it wasn't 'The Grapes of Wrath" because the character in that was Tom Joad.  This on it's own might not excite much of a comment but a couple of questions later and "Code of Silence' came up as an optional answer.  Two Bruce links in one show has to be worth a mention!!

To finish this week some old news but in case you haven't seen it here's a link to Rolling Stones Readers Poll :The Greatest Bruce Springsteen Songs.  No surprises here but I had to chuckle at  Bill Screitmueller's comment :-

'Asking what's your favorite Bruce Springsteen song is like asking who's your favorite child -- you just can't do it.' 

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Write This Down And Don't Forget It

If you are a regular on Facebook you will know that questions are being posed all the time - you know the sort of thing 'What's your favourite song from 'Dirty Dancing?''  'How many of these films have you seen?'  'What sort of cat food do you feed your moggy?'  Now I am a bit of a quiz/survey junkie so at first I couldn't help myself - I answered every question going. Nowadays I try to pass but in the last couple of weeks I've had questions I couldn't refuse - my favourite track from various Springsteen albums.

I had to go for 'can't choose' on the 'Born To Run' Question because I really can't.  Now I know for most people it's a no brainer - Thunder Road yes? But although Thunder Road is an absolute masterpiece I still can't dismiss Born To Run.  It's BTR that makes me jump up and down, BTR that makes me sing at the top of my voice and BTR that can lift me on a bad day, so for it's pure joyfulness, for it's ability to make me happy when I'm down I have to put BTR on a par with Thunder Road.  

Badlands is a feel good song for me too, so reasoning that I couldn't sit on the fence again, I chose this as my favourite from 'Darkness'.  It was a difficult decision though as I really like The Promise Land and Darkness itself.

'WIESS' was an easy choice for me - Sandy.  It is so evocotive of my own teenage life on the coast. The beach, the amusements, the fairground.

No questions about any other album yet but coincidently Mike had been picking a track from each album to put on his iPhone the other week.  He keeps most of his music on an iPod and this is just a back up.   Now Mike and I probably don't agree on the best track on many a Bruce album.  Atlantic City and Youngstown are possibly the only two.  His list is here.

Aint Good Enough For You
Atlantic City 
Back In Your Arms
Drive All Night
For You 
Hearts Of Stone
I Wanna Be With You
I Wish I Were Blind
John Henry
Kingdom Of Days
Living Proof
Long Walk Home
Matamoras Banks
No Surrender
The Promised Land
The Rising 
The River
When You Need Me 
When You're Alone
Wrong Side Of The Street
4th July Asbury Park (Sandy)

Now here's a question for you - can you say which album each of the tracks are from?  I know this should be easy for most of you but I'm really bad at matching tracks to albums.

Bruce and Joe DePugh from the article

So I've read a couple of articles this week - I think I already knew a bit about Bruce's influence for Glory Days but this was still an interesting read.

Then there's this piece about Clarence's footballing days. I like this paragraph:-

Boozer said the last time he saw Clemons face to face was about 1971 at a restaurant on Wall Street. Clemons spoke excitedly about being on the verge of a major breakthrough. Boozer says he also remembers that conversation as if it were yesterday.
“I asked him what he was doing, and he told me that he had met a blue-eyed soul brother who was going to make him a lot of money,” Boozer said. “I asked him what he meant, and he said that he had met a young fella who could really sing, who stirs the crowd, gets them all involved. He said write this down and don’t forget it: Bruce Springsteen."

Last little snippet for this week.  I've been visiting Twitter a lot more lately.  I've discovered it's quite good when I am watching a TV programme or sporting event.  Other folks comments about, for instance 'The Apprentice', can be quite entertaining.  More entertaining than the programme itself you might say.  
Got onto this trending thing too.  I'm keeping up with the news now.  Found out, because they were trending on Twitter, when Peter Falk had died and that South Sudan had been 'born'. 
Anyway to get to the point.  I popped onto Twitter yesterday and saw that Jay Weinberg was  stuck on a plane and to relieve the boredom he was asking if anyone wanted to have a game of  'Words With Friends' (for anyone who doesn't know It's an app a bit like Scrabble). So Mike is now playing 'Words' with Jay Wienberg.  So are several hundred other people who saw the tweet!! ... But hey it's sort of a claim to fame.  

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Save Some Time To Dream

Some weeks when I start to write my blog I find myself a bit deflated.  There are so many Springsteen blogs out there that there is nothing I can say that hasn't already been published more than once already.  This is particularly evident when nothing much is happening because we are all finding the same scraps of news!

Anyway I can recommend that you visit Blogness this week and listen to the audio of Drive All Night.  This is one of my favourite blogs and always worth a look.

We bought Eddie Vedder's album - Ukulele Songs this week.  One of our Bruce Buddies - Tony - recommended it. Mike isn't sure if he likes it. I have only listened to it once so far but I thought it was OK.  I need to listen a few more times to be sure if I really like it. I haven't had time this week because I've been playing a lot of John Mellencamp - more of this later.

Anyway Tony suggested we don't, as he put it, waste our money in future buying stuff that we may not like.  A copy could be slipped surreptitiously in our direction to test the waters first so to speak.  Now this might sound like a good idea but those of you who have followed this blog may remember that I have a love of sleeve notes.  This means that copies and downloads don't really do it for me.

I may be old fashioned but I still like browsing round HMV and buying a CD sometimes because I know only one of the tracks or because a friend or colleague has suggested it.  I like the anticipation of taking it home, putting it on the stereo and not knowing what I'm going to get.  Don't get me wrong we do have a lot of copies (should I be admitting that?) but they are always albums I would never have bought myself anyway.

So Eddie Vedder is to be played next week.

Last week I was preparing for our John Mellencamp gig which we went to on Friday.

I was a little dubious prior to the event as there were some strange reviews on Greasy Lake particularly about a film that was shown before the live gig.  The film was a little odd and if I had not been pre-warned I think I would have wondered what on earth was going on.

Before John came on we were treated to a Johnny Cash track. I can't remember what the track was which is probably ignorant of me as I am sure it had some significance.  John's appearance was announced over the PA system along with a list of his achievements - you know the sort of thing - nominated for x number of Grammy awards etc etc

So far I wasn't impressed but he bounced onto the stage full of eneregy. He was singing something I didn't know but all the audience stood and cheered and sang along. Everyone was really up for it throughout.  It reminded me a little of my first Bruce show. We had invited ourselves to the party but had only half of an idea what was going on!  The Manchester Apollo was almost full and I have to say I thouroughly enjoyed it.  In my after concert euphoria I told Mike it was the best show I had been to after Bruce... then I remembered Gaslight Anthem and Mike reminded me about Southside Johnny who I really like.   So the jury is out for the time being.  

The one thing that would stop me going again is the price of the ticket - £80 (including the extras they add on) for just under two hours was a bit steep I thought.  Of course Bruce spoils us.

He actually didn't play many tracks from the new album but he did play this which I love but then I'm a sucker for songs about having dreams and making the most of the time we have.

There were a few Springsteen T shirts around and this in the local Macdonalds.

Not quite The Hard Rock Cafe but it's the best I can do for now.


We had a sad little moment this week.  June's picture on our 2011 calendar happened to be this:-

I couldn't bring myself to turn it over at first but.. look at July's photo - a reminder of the great times on tour - this picture can't fail to make you smile.