bruce springsteen

bruce springsteen Content tagged as bruce springsteen.

Jesse Malin: Glitter in the Gutter (Shock)

Jesse Malin: Glitter in the Gutter (Shock)

With Malin sometimes sounding like a young Mick Jagger, mostly like a slurry and coked up Tom Petty (before he went soft-rock), and with the urgency of Springsteen's Born to Run period mixed with the Stones' It's Only Rock'n'Roll, this album fairly leaps out at you as Malin hauls in supporters such as Ryan Adams, Jakob Dylan, the Queens of the...

Bruce Springsteen, with the Sessions Band; Live in Dublin (Sony) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

Bruce Springsteen, with the Sessions Band; Live in Dublin (Sony) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

Springsteen's live shows with a band have, for the most part, been celebratory affairs: initially celebrating the spirit of rock'n'roll; later his connection with an audience; and then increasingly with a vast catalogue of songs whose meanings often changed over time. After his last album We Shall Overcome when he explored the catalogue of...

Pete Seeger: American Favourite Ballads Vol 5 (Folkways/Elite)

Pete Seeger: American Favourite Ballads Vol 5 (Folkways/Elite)

Now closing in on 90, Seeger has had a great deal of attention lately: first Martin Scorsese's film on Dylan to '66 included interviews with him, and then Springsteen raided Pete's vast catalogue for his recent studio album We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions. He was also nominated for Nobel Peace Prize by an e-mail petition. Seeger's...

Various Artists: Sowing the Seeds (Appleseed/Elite)

Various Artists: Sowing the Seeds (Appleseed/Elite)

This moving and sometimes inspiring double-disc celebrates the 10th anniversary of the Appleseed label which is a home to various socio-political folkies such as Pete Seeger, Tom Paxton and others. But for this, their first sampler, they have also invited in some guests such as Bruce Springsteen and Donovan -- and had Seeger record some...

Various: Song of America (Split Rock/Southbound)

Various: Song of America (Split Rock/Southbound)

This beautifully packaged 3-CD set (with explanatory booklet) is doubtless very useful as a teaching aid in American schools: it is a chronological collection from a Lakota dream song through colonial period and Civil War songs, to Depression Era laments for the parched land and Brother, Can You Spare a Dime? then into the civil rights period...

The National: A Skin, A Night/The Virginia EP (Beggars Banquet)

The National: A Skin, A Night/The Virginia EP (Beggars Banquet)

Don't be put off by the under-selling title here, this is much more than an EP (which I consider to be what, four, maybe five songs?) This "EP" is a 12 track collection which features this group of New Yorkers on some new material, some rather smart demo tracks and three live songs (including a fine, scraped-cello version of...

Sonny Day: The Collection (Ode)

Sonny Day: The Collection (Ode)

It's a shame that it took Sonny Day's death last year to prompt this compilation, as one of this country's great journeyman musicians his career spanned from the early days of rock'n'roll and then through the Beatles/Motown era when he effortless shifted his style, taking in country and soulful material, and in '85 covered Springsteen's little...

AUTHOR RICHARD PRICE ON CLOCKERS: The book, the movie and the money-go-round

AUTHOR RICHARD PRICE ON CLOCKERS: The book, the movie and the money-go-round

Richard Price barely has to open his mouth and you know where he’s from. The voice is direct with a “yeah, well” shoulder shrug delivery and nothin’s like, too exact, you know? Words get bitten off, sentences sprinkled with streetwise epithets and answers come before the question is finished. Fast talk because it...

WARREN ZEVON INTERVIEWED (1992): Tales from the dark side

WARREN ZEVON INTERVIEWED (1992): Tales from the dark side

The various encyclopaedias of rock don’t do justice to Warren Zevon. He got a snippy microscopic reference in the 91 New Illustrated Rock Handbook (“well-established but usually hitless”) and a massive tome from the same period by Phil Hardy and Stephen Barnard didn’t mention him at all.  A few others get to the...

DAVID SANBORN, JAZZ AND ELSEWHERE SAXOPHONIST INTERVIEWED (1992): Where it's at, wherever "at" is at.

DAVID SANBORN, JAZZ AND ELSEWHERE SAXOPHONIST INTERVIEWED (1992): Where it's at, wherever "at" is at.

A little over three years ago an American magazine profiled alto saxophonist David Sanborn and included a selected discography. It made terrifyingly impressive reading. Aside from almost a dozen albums under his own name – and a pretty high count of Grammy awards among them – there were the albums where he’d had a guest spot....

Woody Guthrie: Original Folk, The Best of Woody Guthrie (Music Club)

Woody Guthrie: Original Folk, The Best of Woody Guthrie (Music Club)

Judging by the roar of approval when Steve Earle paid tribute to Pete Seeger at his Auckland concert, and the rediscovery of the earthy wisdom and political position of Woody Guthrie by another generation, this double CD of 50 songs (with minimal liner essay) is welcome. Disappointingly it is the abridged version of The Land is Your Land...

BONFIRE OF ROADMAPS by JOE ELY (2008)

BONFIRE OF ROADMAPS by JOE ELY (2008)

Joe Ely who grew up in Lubbock, West Texas (Buddy Holly's hometown) is something of a legend in Americana/alt.country rock: he was on the road in the early 70s hitching around to play gigs far and wide but also formed the formidable band the Flatlanders with Butch Hancock and Jimmie Dale Gilmore (both of whom have gone on to remarkable...

John Prine: The Missing Years (1991)

John Prine: The Missing Years (1991)

Around the time in the early 90s when he went from cult figure to frontline, American singer-songwriter John Prine got a nice kiss-off line to his entry in the Penguin Encyclopedia of Popular Music: “His live solo act is spellbinding,” the final sentence of his brief career synopsis stated baldly. Well, he’d had plenty of...

Bruce Springsteen: Working on a Dream (Sony)

Bruce Springsteen: Working on a Dream (Sony)

As a longtime listener to Bruce Springsteen and somewhat of a fan, it is still possible to be clear-eyed about his ever-expanding catalogue. His great period was certainly 1973-84 (from The Wild, The Innocent and The E Street Shuffle to Born in the USA) but it has been judicious pickings since then. The Ghost of Tom Joad ('95) was a remarkble...

Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes: Fever! The Anthology 1976-1991 (Raven)

Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes: Fever! The Anthology 1976-1991 (Raven)

The excellent reissue label out of Australia, Raven, has appeared at Elsewhere previously with its essential Velvet Underground collection What Goes On, the Gene Clark compilation American Dreamer and others. What Raven achieves which many other similar companies don't is multi-label compilations which means you get a more true picture of the...

PETE SEEGER PROFILED: The conscience of America

PETE SEEGER PROFILED: The conscience of America

When I was growing up and the sound of the Beatles and the Stones was the soundtrack to my life, the folk movement out of the US just seemed quaint and grounded in another era. While artists such as Joan Baez and the young Bob Dylan made an impact, a bunch of buttoned-down college boys in sweaters singing "hang down your head Tom...

Various: The Little Red Box of Protest Songs (Proper/Southbound)

Various: The Little Red Box of Protest Songs (Proper/Southbound)

Perhaps this three-CD box set (with a DVD and booklet) might be subtitled "Songs for the New Recession" as the songs here have an almost alarming resonance, despite them being sourced from the Wobblies of a century ago and making their way into the contemporary world via Depression days and then the likes of Pete Seeger who has kept...

Greg Brown and Dream City: Essential Recordings Vol 2 1997-2006 (Red House)

Greg Brown and Dream City: Essential Recordings Vol 2 1997-2006 (Red House)

This extraordinary singer-songwriter-poet appeared at Elsewhere previously with his much recommended Evening Call album although at the time I noted an excellent starting point if he was new to you was the compilation If I Had Known (which covered 1980-96) because it came with a DVD film of his life and work. This double-disc collection picks...

John Fogerty and the Blue Ridge Rangers: Rides Again (Verve)

John Fogerty and the Blue Ridge Rangers: Rides Again (Verve)

The odd thing about hearing the great Creedence Clearwater Revival on the recently released Woodstock set was that they sounded exactly like themselves: that's what happens when you keep your music simple and sharp, and you have a voice as distinctive as John Fogerty's up front. Fogerty is still out there playing Creedence songs and new...

Great North: Soldiers (Great North)

Great North: Soldiers (Great North)

New bands often make great claims for themselves -- that is forgivable -- but I especially like the humour of what this Auckland five-piece say of their music: "It is the sound of Bruce Springsteen having a tumultuous affair with Gillian Welch" and "the songs were delivered by angels. Drunk angels. The kind you don't invite round...

Chris Prowse: Trouble on the Waterfront (Proco)

Chris Prowse: Trouble on the Waterfront (Proco)

The 1951 waterfront strike in Auckland (which lasted for five months but had repercussions for years, even decades, after) was one of the most significant flashpoints and dividing lines in New Zealand history, certainly as much as the Springbok tour three decades later. The strike, lock-out, state of emergency, troops and farmers coming to...

Guy Clark: Somedays the Song Writes You (Dualtone)

Guy Clark: Somedays the Song Writes You (Dualtone)

Now in his late 60s -- he turned 68 in November -- this great Texas singer-songwriter is sounding very weak'n'weary in these 10 co-writes and his cover of Townes Van Zandt's If I Needed You. And that is its very strength. Clark brings a melancholy reflectiveness or quiet gravitas to these lyrics and whether it be considering the mysteries...

Baskery: Fall Among Thieves (Glitterhouse/Yellow Eye)

Baskery: Fall Among Thieves (Glitterhouse/Yellow Eye)

Recently I flipped on yet another faux-country alt.folk album and listened to university educated people pretending they were Appalachian mountain dwellers imbued with a rural spirit and old time religion. I thought, "Spare me much more of this!" And then comes this album to reinvigorate my interest in a mighty crowded genre -- and...

Frank Turner: Poetry of the Deed (Epitaph)

Frank Turner: Poetry of the Deed (Epitaph)

One part youthful Billy Bragg and another of very early Springsteen (the Asbury Park period) and a Pogues-styled energy propels this manic, politicised, wordy outing by this English post-punk folk poet who does a terrific line in taking down myths: "There's no such things as rock stars there's just people who play music, and some of them...

The Eastern: Arrows (Social End Product/Rhythmethod)

The Eastern: Arrows (Social End Product/Rhythmethod)

The Eastern out of Christchurch are new to me although for the past few months their name has been mentioned a lot, always along the lines of, "Oh, you gotta hear the Eastern." Now I have and I too am saying, "Oh, you gotta hear the Eastern". Part arse-kickin' Steve Earle (for whom they have opened), part reflective old...

THE BARGAIN BUY: Bruce Springsteen; Nebraska/The Ghost of Tom Joad

THE BARGAIN BUY: Bruce Springsteen; Nebraska/The Ghost of Tom Joad

Elsewhere has already made the case for Bruce Springsteen's 1982 Nebraska as an Essential Elsewhere album. It was not only a great album but a turning point in his career: it allowed him to step away from the bombast and hype and become a singer of depth and longevity outside of rock's over-hyped expectation. That he followed it up with Born...

FRANK TURNER: AUDIO INTERVIEW (2010): The documentarian of politics and the soul

FRANK TURNER: AUDIO INTERVIEW (2010): The documentarian of politics and the soul

British singer-songwriter Frank Turner moves between many worlds with ease: he plays to hardcore audiences (and started his career in such bands) but also works the folk circuit. He also plays huge festivals and small clubs. His music roams across politics (Thatcher Fucked the Kids), wry humour (I Don't Care What You Did in Your Gap Year)...

Riot 111: 1981! (1981)

Riot 111: 1981! (1981)

New Zealand has no great popular history of topical, political songs -- and the few that there are tend toward the humorous (My Old Man's An All Black with its reference to no Maori being allowed into South Africa in our representative rugby team during the apartheid era, or Click Go The Toll Gates about tolls on the newly constructed Auckland...

JOAN BAEZ; HOW SWEET THE SOUND a documentary by MARY WHARTON (2009)

JOAN BAEZ; HOW SWEET THE SOUND a documentary by MARY WHARTON (2009)

Time to flip all the cards and say that until recently I was never as smitten with Joan Baez as so many people were. Certainly the purity of her voice was striking and when I started discovering Dylan in his early days she seemed to be that dark angel hovering in the wings -- but none of her folk music really stuck with me. I never much...

Bob Dylan: Who Killed Davey Moore? (1963)

Bob Dylan: Who Killed Davey Moore? (1963)

Bob Dylan's Hurricane in '75 is one of the best known songs about a boxer -- but very early in his career Dylan also sang another about a boxer, the fighter Davey Moore who was knocked out by Mexico-based Sugar Ramos from Cuba during a bout in March 1963. Moore spoke to the media afterwards (the illustration is taken from a famous post-fight...

TOWNES VAN ZANDT INTERVIEWED (1988): Say hello and wave goodbye

TOWNES VAN ZANDT INTERVIEWED (1988): Say hello and wave goodbye

You hate to say lt, but Townes Van Zandt had probably already written his own obituary - many times. Try this as a sample of his cut-to-the-bone, white knuckle lyrics: “There ain’t much I haven’t tried -- fast llvin’, slow suicide, I try to tell myself I’m fine but it just aln’t so.” Van Zandt has...

BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN LIVE IN SYDNEY (2003): Normal transmission will be resumed shortly

BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN LIVE IN SYDNEY (2003): Normal transmission will be resumed shortly

Bruce Springsteen won't forget his show at Sydney's Cricket Ground last Saturday. He said so repeatedly and meant it. Losing power in a show can never be discounted as a possibility. But losing it twice would suggest alarmingly bad luck or poor technical support. Losing your stadium rock thump four times in the first hour, however?...

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers: Mojo (Reprise)

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers: Mojo (Reprise)

My take on Tom Petty -- most of whose albums in the first decade or more I cherished with a passion, but had misfortunes with the man -- is that when he hooked up with the Traveling Wilburys he became prematurely geriatric and he lost his rock edge. This is a theory which doesn't bear much serious scrutiny perhaps (I was "wrong"...

GUY CLARK INTERVIEWED (1989): Close to the chest and heart

GUY CLARK INTERVIEWED (1989): Close to the chest and heart

In a way it almost doesn’t matter if you don’t know who Guy Clark is -- Bono and the rest of U2 do. Not only do they attend his concerts (and a month ago, when Clark was in Dublin for a television show, they dropped by there too), but the Irish stadium rockers have signed this quiet singer/songwriter from Nashville to a...

The Gaslight Anthem: American Slang (Shock)

The Gaslight Anthem: American Slang (Shock)

Normallly an amalgam of early Springsteen/E Street Band energy, Bob Seger committment, the Replacements' punky thrash and Tom Petty's way with a lyric and melody would have been right up my street -- but while  Brian Fallon writes good, appropriately "mythic" songs and sings them with throat-aching passion there is something just...

Alejandro Escovedo: Street Songs of Love (Concord)

Alejandro Escovedo: Street Songs of Love (Concord)

From the breathless pace he sets on this hard rocking album you'd never know that Escovedo out of Texas (formerly of Rank and File, a fellow traveller with John Dee Graham, co-writer with Chuck Prophet and now managed by Springsteen's Jon Landau) nearly died a few years ago. Such is the high regard he is held in by his peers that for a...

BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN AND THE E STEET BAND: LONDON CALLING; LIVE IN HYDE PARK (Sony DVD)

BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN AND THE E STEET BAND: LONDON CALLING; LIVE IN HYDE PARK (Sony DVD)

Already a global chart-topper, this double disc DVD not only captures Springsteen and band in concert in June '09, but also acts as an emblem for how much people identify with the man and his songs. Through his image-heavy, narrative songs delivered with a big band wallop (drummer Max Weinberg looks like he is hanging on for dear life...

ROGER GUINN, BACK FROM RIO (1991): The return flyte

ROGER GUINN, BACK FROM RIO (1991): The return flyte

When Jim McGuinn changed his name to Roger in ’67 during a period of chaos without and within for The Byrds, there were those who thought it was an elaborate hoax. Jim had taken off to Rio and been replaced by his lookalike brother, said Paul-is-Dead paranoids and conspiracy theorists. Hence the wry in-joke title on his album Back...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 Ryan Bingham and the Dead Horses: Junky Star (Lost Highway)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 Ryan Bingham and the Dead Horses: Junky Star (Lost Highway)

The name "Ryan Bingham" has been getting a lot of eartime recently -- it was the name of George Clooney's character in the movie Up in the Air. But more importantly in the real world it belongs to one of the most interesting Americana singer-songwriters of the past deacde -- the man who picked up an Oscar for his song The Weary...

BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN AT 60: Still running through America

BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN AT 60: Still running through America

Sometimes we forget just how huge Bruce Springsteen has been: between '75 and '85 alone he sold in excess of 50 million albums (one of them, The River, was a double) and although he deliberately turned from mainstream success with low-key albums like Nebraska (in '82) and The Ghost of Tom Joad ('95) that has hardly stopped his juggernaut....

Melissa Etheridge: Fearless Love (Island)

Melissa Etheridge: Fearless Love (Island)

From the opening title track here – a windblown open-road rocker and statement of ferocious independence – Etheridge confirms her credentials as someone who performs open-heart surgery on the emotions while backing it up with powerful songs. As with Springsteen, she also drops into characters (the unfulfilled housewife in The...

John Prine: In Person and On Stage (Oh Boy)

John Prine: In Person and On Stage (Oh Boy)

The great John Prine falls somewhere between folk and country, but also has a rare downbeat sense of humour and his wry observations have always elevated his albums. Here on a collection of live tracks -- essentially a greatest hits by a man who has rarely had a hit -- he has some grin-inducing anecdotes at times which are kinda...

THE NEO-FOLKIE BOHOS OF THE NINETIES: Talking New York City

THE NEO-FOLKIE BOHOS OF THE NINETIES: Talking New York City

In the early Nineties – three decades after the original urban folk movement in Downtown – there was a whole new neo-boho scene in New York. Michelle Shocked was just the first and copped the publicity but behind here were Kirk Kelly, Roger Manning and Cindy Lee Berryhill - all of whom dressed like fashionable...

Luke Jackson: . . . And Then Some (Popsicle)

Luke Jackson: . . . And Then Some (Popsicle)

After a mention of the late Robert Kirby's string arrangements in a review of the Magic Numbers' The Runaway, this Canadian singer-songwriter with a well-stamped passport got in touch: he too had benefited from Kirby's smart touch. And he sent on a copy of this album which opens with a classic blast of power-pop (Come Tomorrow, the title even...

John Mellencamp: No Better Than This (Rounder)

John Mellencamp: No Better Than This (Rounder)

The man they call "the poet laureate of the Interstate" (although he always sounds a backroads man to me) ha been on such a roll lately with Freedom's Road and Life Death Love Freedom) that the idea of him recording in mono with T Bone Burnett in Sun Studio, the Gunter Hotel in San Antonio (where Robert Johnson was committed to tape)...

STEVEN VAN ZANDT INTERVIEWED (2003): The punks and the godfather

STEVEN VAN ZANDT INTERVIEWED (2003): The punks and the godfather

Silvio Dante, Tony Soprano's loyal soldier and owner of the famous Bada Bing strip club, is in the lobby bar of a Sydney hotel and, as you might expect, a lot of people are looking at him. Menacing and permanently pouting, Silvio wears silk shirts, loud ties, great suits and gold chains. And that hat of motionless black hair which gives even...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 Great North: Newfoundland (GNMR)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 Great North: Newfoundland (GNMR)

This Auckland band impressed mightily with their Soldiers EP of last year and this debut album really steps up to the plate. Coming from an alt.country end but with discreet influences from the likes of Springsteen, Dylan, Neil Young and the Waterboys as much as muscular poetry and indie.rock (the landslide of guitars which bury All Eyes...

Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes: Hearts of Stone (1978)

Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes: Hearts of Stone (1978)

With his big band the Asbury Jukes (a 10-piece), Southside Johnny out of New Jersey could only ever run a distant second to his friend Bruce Springsteen as the Seventies unfurled. Springsteen had the impetus, the big label, smart management and a kind of destiny -- but they were pals and E Street guitarist Steven Van Zandt was a Juke in...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 Bruce Springsteen: The Promise (Sony)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 Bruce Springsteen: The Promise (Sony)

“You know kids go, 'Hey, when are you gonna make a record?',” Bruce Springsteen said in March 77, “I say, 'One of these days'.” And they were difficult days for the man they call The Boss. After his breakthrough album Born to Run in '75 – which sold around 10 million globally and took him to the covers...

THE BARGAIN BUY: Bruce Springsteen; Born to Run (Sony)

THE BARGAIN BUY: Bruce Springsteen; Born to Run (Sony)

It's commonly enough noted that this was the album which got Springsteen onto the covers of Newsweek and Time in the same week in October 1975. But looking at the size of those magazines today -- thin, articles of almost haiku length -- it is hard for many to understand now what that actually meant. They were massive-selling and influential...

Gary US Bonds: Quarter to Three (1961)

Gary US Bonds: Quarter to Three (1961)

In the DVD doco accompanying the box set version of The Promise -- the songs recorded while waiting to start a new album after Born to Run -- Bruce Springsteen talks about how he was a product of Top 40 radio, those great three minute songs which set you free just for that moment in time. And E Street Band member Steven Van Zandt later says...

Barry Saunders: Far As The Eye Can See (Ode)

Barry Saunders: Far As The Eye Can See (Ode)

More than just a compilation of tracks from his various albums and radio sessions (including some from his excellent Zodiac album), this collection of songs by country-inflected singer-songwriter Saunders was a prompt for various painters and visual artists. Wellington curator Ron Epskamp of Exhibitions Gallery (here) invited 14 artists to...

THE JAM and TOM PETTY in '79: Two bands separated by a common language

THE JAM and TOM PETTY in '79: Two bands separated by a common language

At the fag-end of the Seventies, the sound of the Sex Pistols explosion in Britain had faded and in the place of furious punk anger came the more intellectual and cooler sound of post-punk: bands like Magazine, Wire and Joy Division. Across the Atlantic the Ramones' flat-tack energy was faltering and the names to note were Talking...

Kid Rock: Born Free (Atlantic)

Kid Rock: Born Free (Atlantic)

Having always been a fan of Bob Seger in that classic period in the mid Seventies (especially the Stranger in Town album) it was a real pleasure to shove this disc in the car player and crank it up . . . because by halfway through the first track I was thinking this was the great and largely forgotten Bob accidentally put in a Kid Rock cover....

Nils Lofgren: Valentine (1991)

Nils Lofgren: Valentine (1991)

Some would say Nils Lofgren never fulfilled his early promise. Certainly his band Grin were pretty good but then he scored with a couple of excellent solo albums. His self-titled album in '75 was terrific and contained his plea to an increasingly drug-abusing Keith Richards in Keith Don't Go, a fine version of the Goffin-King classic Goin' Back...

BOB DYLAN IN THE 21st CENTURY: And the road shall not weary him

BOB DYLAN IN THE 21st CENTURY: And the road shall not weary him

In his recent collection of essays Listen to This, the New Yorker music critic Alex Ross has an interesting and provocative piece on Bob Dylan. It opens, “America is no country for old men. Pop culture is a pedophile's delight” then he ask what – in this world of manufactured teen pop – we are to do with “a...

Dropkick Murphys: Going Out in Style (Born and Bred)

Dropkick Murphys: Going Out in Style (Born and Bred)

At one level this is another installment of raucous, shot-slamming, singalong rowdiness from Boston's Celtic-punk outfit . . . and in that it is not only effective and enjoyable. It certainly makes you want the bartender to splash another shot of whisky into your jar before you throw an arm around the shoulder of mate and bellow "burn me to...

Joan Baez: Play Me Backwards (Proper)

Joan Baez: Play Me Backwards (Proper)

Joan Baez has never had her rediscovery by a new generation, but this reissue of her excellent folk-rock album of ' 92 – with an extra disc of demos including Dylan's early Seven Curses which only appeared on his recent Witmark Demos 1962-64 – is a smart starting place as it found her back in Nashville after a 20 year absence and...

ROY ORBISON 1960-65: The years of monumental pop

ROY ORBISON 1960-65: The years of monumental pop

Looked at one way, the great Roy Orbison (who died in late '88) had five separate careers, but he only ever changed musical direction once. "The Big O" -- or "the Caruso of Rock" -- as he was known, had long periods away from the spotlight and it would be fair to observe his defining work was done in an exceptional period...

Bob Dylan: The Very Best of Bob Dylan's 80s (Sony Legacy)

Bob Dylan: The Very Best of Bob Dylan's 80s (Sony Legacy)

As it was happening, Bob Dylan's Eighties seemed somewhat of a wasteland only sparsely populated by songs which had any great resonance. And many which did -- Brownsville Girl co-written with playwright Sam Shepard for example, on the largely awful Knocked Out Loaded in '86 -- weren't sympathetically produced. Certainly songs like Jokerman...

EDDIE AND THE CRUISERS, a film by MARTIN DAVIDSON (Triton DVD)

EDDIE AND THE CRUISERS, a film by MARTIN DAVIDSON (Triton DVD)

Although this B-grade rock-cum-mystery film from '83 has plot holes and continuity problems so big you could drive a pink '57 Chevy through them, it isn't without some interest, especially if Bruce Springsteen means anything to you. In the most broadest of terms, it starts like Citizen Kane (a television reporter Maggie Foley -- played by...

Greg Brown: Freak Flag (YepRoc)

Greg Brown: Freak Flag (YepRoc)

When you get to your 24th album you probably aren't expecting a major breakthrough in terms of having a whole new audience find you. And nothing on this fine album sounds like either a departure, or capable of taking this poet/singer beyond those who already know of him. Formerly the musical director on the famous A Prairie Home Companion...

The Funky Kings: Singing in the Streets (1976)

The Funky Kings: Singing in the Streets (1976)

So just how pervasive was Bruce Springsteen's influence? One listen to this track by the short-lived Funky Kings from LA would suggest that even by his second album he'd managed to infiltrate the consciousness of these guys. Well, maybe. But the Funky Kings, who only lasted one album, were a supergroup in reverse. Just about all of them...

Bruce Springsteen: You're Missing (2002)

Bruce Springsteen: You're Missing (2002)

On the 10th anniversary of 9/11 there are the inevitable think-pieces and essays on how the world was changed by that astonishing act of terrorism. Do people in the West feel more safe for the "war on terror"? How do you measure success in Iraq and Afghanistan? Are civilians in those country more or less secure now?...

Gary US Bonds: From a Buick 6 (1981)

Gary US Bonds: From a Buick 6 (1981)

Because he was just a great rock'n'soul, one-off belter in that dead air between Elvis-in-the-army and the Beatles-on-Ed Sullivan, there was no reason to think Gary Bonds would have had any second life in rock'n'roll. He was, for many, just a space-filler in history with minor hits like the exceptional Quarter to Three in '61 and . . ....

BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN, THE TRACKS BOX SET (1998): The creation, rise and redemption of the Boss

BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN, THE TRACKS BOX SET (1998): The creation, rise and redemption of the Boss

For Bruce Springsteen -- born in the unpromisingly named town of Freehold, New Jersey, in the promised land of America -- rock 'n' roll was the redemptive force which delivered him from his working-class existence in the "20 years of schoolin' and they put you on the day shift" world Bob Dylan once sang of. Springsteen is a Horatio...

Guy Clark: Songs and Stories (Dualtone)

Guy Clark: Songs and Stories (Dualtone)

Although the smart money would have been against his longevity, here is the road-worn troubadour Guy Clark -- 70 in November 2011 -- working his way through exactly what it says on the box, singing his back-catalogue (LA Freeway, The Randall Knife, The Cape, Homegrown Tomatoes among them) and Townes Van Zandt's If I Needed You. Recording...

David Bowie: It's Hard to be a Saint in the City (1975)

David Bowie: It's Hard to be a Saint in the City (1975)

Bruce Springsteen's song It's Hard to be a Saint in the City holds a very important place in his history. It was one of the songs he played at an audition for John Hammond at CBS which got him his recording contract, and before that it was the song that Mike Appel was so impressed by that he quit the day job to become Springsteen's manager....

Bruce Springsteen: Born in the USA demo (1982)

Bruce Springsteen: Born in the USA demo (1982)

The recent box set The Ties That Bind; The River Collection showed how Bruce Springsteen was so prolific in the period when he was writing what became the double album The River. Once all those songs poured out -- about 60 in all -- and he'd done 18 months of touring on the back of the album he returned to his home studio trying to re-think...

The Knack: And How To Lose It

The Knack: And How To Lose It

Okay, this is how I remember The Knack and its lead singer Doug Feiger, but it was a long time ago so the memory may be dodgy. It was August 13, 1979 to be exact and the ads boasted "biggest band in the world in NZ at their peak". They were playing at Mainstreet in Auckland. That claim was true, oddly enough: at the very...

Bruce Springsteen; Nebraska (1982)

Bruce Springsteen; Nebraska (1982)

From this distance it is hard to remember just how huge Springsteen was in the late 70s and early 80s: these days disco and punk/new wave get more pages in rock history books, but Bruce Springsteen deserves a chapter on his own. In the States alone Born to Run in '75 sold in excess of seven million, it's follow-up the more bleak Darkness on...

THE OLD GREY WHISTLE TEST DVD REVIEWED (2007)

THE OLD GREY WHISTLE TEST DVD REVIEWED (2007)

If you want to capture the essence of the 70s in a word it's "hair". At the start of the decade there were Afros and cascades of curls halfway down backs (that's the men) and the long straight stuff with fringes (the women -- and Noddy Holder from Slade). By mid-decade there were dreadlocks, moustaches and big sideburns...

Steve Earle: Copperhead Road (1988)

Steve Earle: Copperhead Road (1988)

Of all the artists to emerge in the past two and a half decades, you can effortlessly make the case that Steve Earle has moved the most. With confidence, and often great success, he has worked within genres we might define as country, folk-blues, alt.rock, bluegrass, country-rock . . . Earle has been a provocative political voice...

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