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surefish exclusive by Ricky Ross
On a dusty railway platform station in
1980 I picked up a pink button badge which read, I Love Bruce Springsteen. Since
that time Ive guessed that is the only sensible reaction to have to the
music of Bruce.
Last year the live CD
of the NYC gig came through my post. I put on the album and played all of it without
a pause and smiled, laughed and found myself near greetin' at the sheer audacity
of the whole thing, and immediately began to regret not going to the E Street
live gigs of a few summers ago. The version of Tenth Avenue Freeze Out became
(and might still might be) a rather worrying mid-to-late life addiction . It reminded
me of my first night in New York (when I also saw my first Bruce gig!) and made
me realise what being in a band can be knowing the audience know youre
having as much fun as is humanly possible and still creating the essence of all
great pop music transcendence.
The Rising. I liked this album
before I heard a note. Two things were plus points before the tapes rolled. 1.
The E Street band were back (the least he could do after their sterling efforts
on the New York album). 2 He had engaged a producer. I didnt really mind
who this was but simply thought it a good idea to have someone else get the best
out of him. Musically the album is a big success. It contains songs (Lonesome
Day, Waiting on A Sunny Day, Marys Place, Lets Be Friends and The
Rising) which beg to be in the live set along side Two Hearts, Badlands or My
Love Will Not Let You down. Producer Brendan OBrien has made his mark in
the best way. Hes made no attempt to stamp any character of his own, but
rather found a great way of making the E Street Band seem like the only choice
for the backing musicians, and he also seems to have tapped into their gift of
sounding like the American bar room rnb band they truly are.
Theres also a nod back to the ghost who stalked the Born To Run sessions
- Phil Spector. When you have four guitarists, two keyboards and a sax man, why
should you avoid the wall of sound? Theres more than a hint of Crystals
here and there on this album with due attention given to the directness which
made their songs so perfect.
So what could be wrong?
things Bruce it goes on a bit. Seventy-two minutes is pushing it a bit. Someone
with his pedigree doesnt need reminding that Whats Goin On,
Pet Sounds and Rubber Soul were less than half that length.
If theres a flaw its perhaps the most publicised aspect of this album.
As a post September 11th piece it is limited by its own precepts.
Its a difficult trick to pull off an album when youve already narrowed
the field of focus so acutely. But the cruellest truth is that there is really
nothing here which will add to the our own understanding of that dark day.
Would any of this have mattered had the publicity not made such a feature
of it? I think not.
A few years ago I watched in dumb disbelief an HBO
type broadcast on the last Springsteen/ E St. Band studio collaboration for the
extra tracks on the Greatest Hits package. It occurred to me then how badly served
he was by a conspiracy of sycophancy which ran throughout the management, band
and production team. Having sacked himself as producer the next task might be
to hand out a P45 to the person who came up with the advance PR for this album.
Bruces nascent career in this country suffered from the abysmal hype of
the Finally the world is ready for... campaign. His albums and shows
proved there was far more to him than that weak fluff. Dont let a similar
misjudged press blurb put you off The Rising. I got out of bed on Monday morning
and bought it before I did anything else. Its the best thing Ive done
to 'The Rising'
your copy of this album