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March 16, 2014 / thackersam

March 15 – Saturday – Bruce Springsteen – The River – Pt 1

Bruce - RiverIn late 1979, early ’80, songs from No Nukes, a concert by several well-known artists for a non-nuclear future, were being played on the radio, and I loved Jackson Browne singing his version of the classic “Stay” backed up by Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band. A movie was released, which I’ve never seen, but did see the part in which Bonnie Raitt remarked about the Brucing coming from the audience sounding like booing. I was getting more and more intrigued, and started to listen to everything Bruce did up until that time and bought all four of his albums. Then we all waited for the next one and soon there was a buzz, an anticipation. And in late 1980, The River was released. By then, I was hooked.

My fond memories took hold as side one played this evening, looking like it may make it to the Ram list for its sheer exuberance, but then it ended on a low note, for me, and it was too short. I needed a little extra, so I put on “Criminal” by Fiona Apple, which was sitting in the CD deck. The River is more peppy rock ‘n roll coupled with songs of plights, and sounding a little more Eddie and the Cruisers, which I’m not complaining about. Without objection, I think this double album was a result of Bruce’s feeling his own popularity, which is why a more mainstream song like “Hungry Heart” was his first top ten hit. He seems more like an author of fiction than the characters in the songs themselves, and the closest thing to an epic is the title song, but with only minor change-ups. “Is a dream a lie if it don’t come true, or is it something worse” sounds like his character comes to the realization that all the lines he’s been feeding his women come back to haunt them both. I do like the album, a lot, and these two sides contain feisty “Sherry Darling” and my album favorite “Out in the Street.” The latter song I played so much that my mother would try singing it on her own, but would get the words and the woe-ohs mixed up. It was cute, but it wasn’t pretty. However, despite the memories, I don’t think the second record will make the Ram list either.

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