friday random ten, going to the ballgame edition
there but for the grace of the gods of kobol go i

bruce springsteen: the seeger sessions

I often thought, back in the day, that it would be great to have a cover album from Bruce Springsteen. All the way through the Tunnel of Love Tour, Bruce would close his show with oldies, always rambunctious, always a highlight. No matter how serious he might take himself at other times during the show, in the encores, his goofy side would emerge. Just to list some of the songs I personally heard him play with the E Street Band, there's the "Detroit Medley" of Mitch Ryder songs, "Quarter to Three," "Raise Your Hand," "Good Rockin' Tonight," "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town," "Trapped," "Twist and Shout," "Haunted House," "Have Love Will Travel," "I Don't Want Any More of This Army Life," "It's My Life," "Little Latin Lupe Lu," "New Orleans," "On Top of Old Smokey," "Outer Limits," "School Is Out," "Sweet Soul Music," "Travelin' Band" ... you get the idea.

And now Bruce is finally coming out with a cover album, and he's covering ... Pete Seeger? My fears were of a sanctimonious, "good for you" album of dreary good intentions.

Well, if I was to come across a copy (and since it's not going to be released for another week and a half, of course I don't have a copy, how could I?), but if I was to come across a copy, I'd lose most of my fears. I'd notice that the new album is mostly a lot of fun, that the fun is infectious, and that the upcoming tour should be a blast. That's if I had a copy, you understand.

I've spent most of the time since word of the album came out serenading Robin with my crappy version of "Old Dan Tucker," the very idea of which made me think Bruce was making a big mistake. Well, not only does Bruce do a bangup job on the song (or so I'd say if I'd heard it, which of course I haven't), the lyrics to "Old Dan Tucker" are a lot goofier than I remembered. Actually, "remembered" isn't the right word, since the only part I ever recall is "Get out the way fer Ol' Dan Tucker, too late to get his supper!" But the damn thing sounds like one of Bob Dylan's early folkie goofs:

Now Old Dan Tucker was a fine old man
Washed his face in a frying pan
Combed his hair with a wagon wheel
And died with a toothache in his heel

Get out the way! Old Dan Tucker
You're too late to get your supper
Get out the way! Old Dan Tucker
You're too late to get your supper

Now Old Dan Tucker come to town
Riding a billy goat, leading a hound
The hound dog barked, the billy goat jumped
Land Old Tucker on a stump

Now Old Dan Tucker got drunk and fell
In the fire and kicked up hell,
Red hot coal got in his shoe,
And oh my lord the ashes flew.

Now Old Dan Tucker come to town
Swinging them ladies all around
First to the right and then to the left
Then to the gal that he loves best

Get out the way! Old Dan Tucker
You're too late to get your supper
Get out the way! Old Dan Tucker
You're too late to get your supper

Compare it to this one from Dylan:

Well, I got a woman sleeps on a cot,
She yells and hollers and squeals a lot.
Licks my face and tickles my ear,
Bends me over and buys me beer....

Well, ask me why I'm drunk alla time,
It levels my head and eases my mind.
I just walk along and stroll and sing,
I see better days and I do better things.

I don't know, seems kinda similar in tone, at least to me (and to Dave Marsh, who makes the Dylan reference in the liner notes ... which I admit to having seen, since they're on Bruce's website).

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