Bruce Springsteen has acquired a certain Dylan-level ability to reflect on and reimagine his own work. His time with the E-Street Band prepared him perfectly for this moment, just as Dylan’s endless tour affords his evolving musical and lyrical ideas regular venue in front of gatherings worldwide of his most devoted fans.
This 2014 reimagining of the song ‘The Ghost of Tom Joad” –the opening track on Springsteen’s 1995 solo release of the same name– is as much Tom Morello’s as Springsteen’s. It takes the dark, finely-honed menace of the original recording and plugs it into Morello’s amp head, allowing it to transcend the limitations of solo performance in hard-fighting guitar leads and the biting harmonies he and Springsteen find around the vocal mic together (especially the chorus “Well the highway is alive tonight…”). Springsteen’s insane vocal range and power features throughout. I honestly can’t say enough good about this recording.
Listening to this and knowing what a music geek Morello is I had to smile in the realization that this project must’ve given him the biggest contact high of all time.
Waitin’ for when the last shall be first and the first shall be last
In a cardboard box ‘neath the underpass
Always loved these boys’ ability to turn the local phrase with utmost authenticity. An album’s worth of their music and it’s easy to come to your senses utterly transported.
Warakurna, camels roam
Fires are warm and dogs are cold
Not since Lassiter was here
Black man’s got a lot to fear
Some people laugh some never learn
This land must change or land must burn
Some people leave, always return
This land must change or land must burn.
A rockin’ end of summer, end of everything tune:
You left me hanging at the altar
Well, it might as well have been
For as sure as I’m standing here
There is sin, and you have sinned
Another fairly straightforward cover of a Euro-North American hit, this a 1975 recording by American jazz guitarist Jackie Paris and the legendary Jamaican master Dennis Brown does little to alter the 1968 hit for The Monkees except the addition of a whole mess of percussion.
Oh, I could hide ‘neath the wings
Of the bluebird as she sings.
The six o’clock alarm would never ring.
But it rings and I rise,
Wipe the sleep out of my eyes.
My shavin’ razor’s cold and it stings.
Cheer up, Sleepy Jean.
Oh, what can it mean.
To a daydream believer
And a homecoming queen.
A fairly straightforward cover of the 1963 hit for renowned Liverpudlian rock combo The Beatles. Prince Buster entertained a lot of tourist audiences in his heyday so it is only natural that he and other ‘North Coast’ bandleaders would churn out sentimental covers such as these by the bushel.
Close your eyes and I’ll kiss you
Tomorrow I’ll miss you
Remember I’ll always be true
And then while I’m away
I’ll write home every day
And I’ll send all my loving to you