26 January 2012

Storyteller: "Thunder Road", Bruce Springsteen (live, 1987, Passaic, NJ)

Thunder Road
(music and lyrics by Bruce Springsteen)
The screen door slams
Mary's dress waves
Like a vision she dances across the porch
As the radio plays
Roy Orbison singing for the lonely
Hey that's me and I want you only
Don't turn me home again
I just can't face myself alone again
Don't run back inside
darling you know just what I'm here for
So you're scared and you're thinking
That maybe we ain't that young anymore
Show a little faith, there's magic in the night
You ain't a beauty, but hey you're alright
Oh and that's alright with me

You can hide 'neath your covers
And study your pain
Make crosses from your lovers
Throw roses in the rain
Waste your summer praying in vain
For a savior to rise from these streets
Well now I'm no hero
That's understood
All the redemption I can offer, girl
Is beneath this dirty hood
With a chance to make it good somehow
Hey what else can we do now
Except roll down the window
And let the wind blow back your hair
Well the night's busting open
These two lanes will take us anywhere
We got one last chance to make it real
To trade in these wings on some wheels
Climb in back
Heaven's waiting on down the tracks
Oh oh come take my hand
Riding out tonight to case the promised land
Oh oh Thunder Road, oh Thunder Road
oh Thunder Road
Lying out there like a killer in the sun
Hey I know it's late we can make it if we run
Oh Thunder Road, sit tight take hold
Thunder Road

Well I got this guitar
And I learned how to make it talk
And my car's out back
If you're ready to take that long walk
From your front porch to my front seat
The door's open but the ride it ain't free
And I know you're lonely
For words that I ain't spoken
But tonight we'll be free
All the promises'll be broken
There were ghosts in the eyes
Of all the boys you sent away
They haunt this dusty beach road
In the skeleton frames of burned out Chevrolets

They scream your name at night in the street
Your graduation gown lies in rags at their feet
And in the lonely cool before dawn
You hear their engines roaring on
But when you get to the porch they're gone
On the wind, so Mary climb in
It's a town full of losers
And I'm pulling out of here to win.

Copyright © Bruce Springsteen (ASCAP)
Here's some vintage Bruce from the first tour I saw, 1978 -- all redemption and sacred fire in the Darkness on the Edge of Town. Springsteen often sets up a song performed live by telling the audience the story behind the song. Here's a little taste.

Filmed at the Capitol Theatre, Passaic, NJ (1978)

20 January 2012

Emmylou Harris and the Red Dirt Boys: "Kern River" (written by Merle Haggard, 1985)

Emmylou Harris, 2008

With Kern River, appearing on her mostly self-penned studio album All I Intended to Be (2008), Emmylou gives us a mountain tale written by Merle Haggard at the height of his songwriting powers.

Here's a live version of Haggard's ballad, interpreted by Emmylou Harris and the Red Dirt Boys:

Emmylou Harris and the Red Dirt Boys

16 January 2012

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (U.S.): U2, "Pride (In the Name of Love)" (1984)

U2 at the Garden, 2005

In the Arizona struggle over recognition of this federal holiday, U2 stepped right into the depths of that coflict. The Irish rockers performed concerts and supported, in word, song, and deed, the
recognition of the new holiday; in return came death threats against band frontman Bono. U2 went on with the concerts anyway, performing Pride (In the Name of Love) -- a song about the late Rev. Dr. King, Jr., and every man, woman or child who ever showed pride in the face of injustice, all in the name of love.

The internet sheriff won't let me embed the video here, so please check it out at this link:


14 January 2012

Merry Clayton: "After All This Time" (1972)

The most powerful vocal performance on the Stones' signature anti-war song is Merry Clayton's duet vocal with Mick Jagger on Gimme Shelter (studio version, first released as the opening track on the band's 1969 Let it Bleed album.)

That said, now I'll move over and let Merry take over.

whiteray at Echoes in the Wind inspired and contributed to this post. See his post: One Chart Dig: January 3, 1972.

03 January 2012

Complementary Presentations of "Lord Jim": Conrad's Book and Brooks' Film

Jim (Peter O'Toole): .... I've been a so-called coward and a so-called hero and there's not the thickness of a sheet of paper between them. Maybe cowards and heroes are just ordinary men who, for a split second, do something out of the ordinary. That's all.
Though truly divergent works of art, with more than a few threads of a central theme, Joseph Conrad's novel Lord Jim (written 1899-1900) and Richard Brooks' 1965 film of the same name are both adventures worth taking. Each work stands on it own merits, Conrad's accomplishment standing as one of the great books in modern English.

I read the book first and highly recommend starting with it. Then the film may serve as, not an equal, but a fine supplementary work of art. Supplementary in the most important sense in that it is an action adventure film with its serious themes stripped down, but still looming. While Conrad's novel is a meticulous examination of the diverse elements of the human character and and "simple twists of fate", the novel brings the characters into sharp focus. The film's outstanding cast truly bring the characters to life.

So take a South Seas adventure from the late 19th century and learn a little about what heroes and courage are really all about.