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

 |   |  1 min read

Bruce Springsteen: 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 in the USA was another matter.

But by going down the dark road of Americana folk and blues as he did on Nebraska he allowed himself to return to it whenever he liked -- as he did for The Ghost of Tom Joad in '95.

Inspired by John Ford's film of John Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath (the title character) and a book about the plight of migrant peoples in America, the album was darker and more political than Nebraska (no mean feat on the darkness front). But although it was critically praised it didn't grab the public's attention. It sold modestly.

Yet here were character-driven songs of great emotional depth in which it seemed no one was getting out unscathed. They also captured the tenor of the times as Rolling Stone noted: "Plaintive, bitter epiphanies, like these are far removed from the sort anthemic cries that once filled Springsteen's music, but then these are not times for anthems. These are times for lamentations, for measuring how much of the American promise has been broken or abandoned and how much of our future is transfigured into a vista of ruin. These are pitiless times."

Springsteen was speaking through the dispossessed and disenfranchised and giving them voice. That not many were listening was hardly his fault.

But The Ghost of Tom Joad is a dark ride, and sometimes it is one we need to take to better understand our world. JB_HZ_CHEAP_long

Coupled with Nebraska, this two CD set currently goes for a mere $10 at JB Hi-Fi stores here. That, in any language, is a Bargain Buy

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   The Bargain Buy articles index

THE BARGAIN BUY: Dolly Parton, The Box Set Series

THE BARGAIN BUY: Dolly Parton, The Box Set Series

Songwriters have long recognised Dolly Parton among the greats: she is accomplished at writing sassy songs (Dumb Blonde) heart-tuggers (Put It Off Until Tomorrow) and catchy country-pop (Something... > Read more

THE BARGAIN BUY: The Monkees; The Original Album Series (Rhino)

THE BARGAIN BUY: The Monkees; The Original Album Series (Rhino)

By the merest twist of fate, the history of popular American music 50 years ago could well have been very different if just one man had got a different job. Stephen Stills -- a wonderful... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Rome, Italy: The only sure thing in life

Rome, Italy: The only sure thing in life

It's all in the odd juxtaposition really. Just off the Piazza Barberini in Rome with its magnificent Fountain of Triton by Bernini -- and only a short walk from the more famous Trevi Fountain -- is... > Read more

BOB MARLEY ON THE 10TH ANNIVERSARY OF HIS DEATH (ESSAY, 1991): Legacy of a righteous rebel

BOB MARLEY ON THE 10TH ANNIVERSARY OF HIS DEATH (ESSAY, 1991): Legacy of a righteous rebel

There are no written records of the event, but we can speculate: the interior of the Tuff Gong Studio in Jamaica on a hot afternoon in 1980. Bob Marley and the Wailers are putting the final tracks... > Read more