Tag Archives: album

Today: Bruce Springsteen released Nebraska in 1982 – 30 years ago

“The fact that you didn’t intend to release it makes it the most intimate record you’ll ever do. This is an absolutely legitimate piece of art.” Steven Van Zandt

“I felt that it was my best writing. I felt I was getting better as a writer. I was learning things. I was certainly taking a hard look at everything around me.”
Bruce Springsteen

I really love this album. I did not buy it in 1982 I got it a few years later, I listened to it at the record store when it was released, but it didn’t impress me. I couldn’t connect to it musically or lyrically. It is not an album that imidiately catches your attention, it needs to be listened to, properly.

When I did that I became very impressed!

Some facts (from Wikipedia):

Released September 30, 1982
Recorded Mostly January 3, 1982 at Springsteen’s Colts Neck, New Jersey bedroom
Genre Americana, folk rock, folk
Length 40:50
Label Columbia
Producer Bruce Springsteen

Nebraska is the sixth studio album by Bruce Springsteen, released in 1982 on Columbia Records.

Sparsely-recorded on a cassette-tape Portastudio, the tracks on Nebraska were originally intended as demos of songs to be recorded with the E Street Band. However, Springsteen ultimately decided to release the demos themselves. Nebraska remains one of the most highly-regarded albums in his catalogue. The songs on Nebraska deal with ordinary, blue collar characters who face a challenge or a turning point in their lives. Unlike his previous albums, very little salvation and grace is present within the songs.

Initially, Springsteen recorded demos for the album at his home with a 4-track cassette recorder. The demos were sparse, using only acoustic guitar, electric guitar (“Open All Night”), harmonica, mandolin, glockenspiel, tambourine, organ and Springsteen’s voice.

Springsteen then recorded the album in a studio with the E Street Band. However, he and the producers and engineers working with him felt that a raw, haunted folk essence present on the home tapes was lacking in the band treatments, and so they ultimately decided to release the demo version as the final album. Complications with mastering of the tapes ensued because of low recording volume, but the problem was overcome with sophisticated noise reduction techniques.

Springsteen fans have long speculated whether Springsteen’s full-band recording of the album, nicknamed Electric Nebraska, will ever surface. In a 2006 interview, manager Jon Landau said it was unlikely and that “the right version of Nebraska came out”. But in a 2010 interview with Rolling Stone, E Street Band drummer Max Weinberg praised the full band recording of the album as “killing.”

Critical Reception:

Allmusic:

by William Ruhlmann

“There is an adage in the record business that a recording artist’s demos of new songs often come off better than the more polished versions later worked up in a studio. But Bruce Springsteen was the first person to act on that theory, when he opted to release the demo versions of his latest songs, recorded with only acoustic or electric guitar, harmonica, and vocals, as his sixth album, Nebraska. It was really the content that dictated the approach, however. Nebraska‘s ten songs marked a departure forSpringsteen, even as they took him farther down a road he had been traveling previously. Gradually, his songs had become darker and more pessimistic, and those on Nebraska marked a new low. They also found him branching out into better developed stories…”

Promo poster for Nebraska in 1982

Robert Christgau:

Literary worth is established with the title tune, in which Springsteen’s Charlie Starkweather becomes the first mass murderer in the history of socially relevant singer-songwriting to entertain a revealing thought–wants his pretty baby to sit in his lap when he gets the chair. Good thing he didn’t turn that one into a rousing rocker, wouldn’t you say, though (Hüsker Dü please note) I grant that some hardcore atonality might also produce the appropriate alienation effect. But the music is a problem here–unlike, er, Dylan, or Robert Johnson, or Johnny Shines or Si Kahn or Kevin Coyne, Springsteen isn’t imaginative enough vocally or melodically to enrich these bitter tales of late capitalism with nothing but a guitar, a harmonica, and a few brave arrangements. Still, this is a conceptual coup, especially since it’s selling. What better way to set right the misleading premise that rock and roll equals liberation? A-

Rolling Stone Magazine:

Nebraska is an acoustic triumph, a basic folk album on which Springsteen has stripped his art down to the core. It’s as harrowing as Darkness on the Edge of Town, but more measured. Every small touch speaks volumes: the delicacy of the acoustic guitars, the blurred sting of the electric guitars, the spare, grim images. He’s now telling simple stories in the language of a deferential common man, peppering his sentences with “sir’s.” “My name is Joe Roberts,” he sings. “I work for the state.”

 

“Now judge I had debts no honest man could pay
The bank was holdin’ my mortgage and they were gonna take my house away
Now I ain’t sayin’ that makes me an innocent man
But it was more ‘n all this that put that gun in my hand”

Bruce Springsteen would try to recreate Nebraska in 1995 when he released The Ghost of Tom Joad,  an album that is very similar musically and lyrically. As much as I love The Ghost of Tom Joad, it was impossible to recreate the “accident” that happened on this simple casette demo, recorded in a New Jersey bedroom in January 1982.

– Hallgeir

What we think we know about the new Bob Dylan album

The title is Tempest.
It has ten songs.
It will be released September 11th 2012 in the US.

Update: Release date UK September 10th 2012 (according to nme.com)

Update: Release date Norway September 7th 2012 (according to platekompaniet.no)

David Hidalgo says it has a Latin American influence with a Tres Guitar.

It is Bob Dylan’s 35th studio album.

It is recorded at Jackson Browne’s Los Angeles studio.

It was recorded from January to March this year.

It marks Bob Dylan’s  50TH anniversary as a recording artist.

The Tracklist is:
1. Duquesne Whistle
2. Soon After Midnight
3. Narrow Way
4. Long and Wasted Years
5. Pay In Blood
6. Scarlet Town
7. Early Roman Kings
8. Tin Angel
9. Tempest
10. Roll On John

Track 10 is about John Lennon (and it’s a long song, 9 minutes(?)), it quotes lines from multiple Beatles songs, including “Come together right now” from “Come Together” and “I heard the news today, oh boy” from “A Day in the Life.”

Tempest is also a play by William Shakespeare (his last).

The picture on the front is of a statue in Austria depicting Pallas a Greek godess.

Update: The picture on the front is not depicting the Greek goddess Pallas! In fact it depicts the female allegory of the river Vltava (Moldau) which indeed is part of the Pallas monument in front of the Austrian Parliament. The Elbe and the Vltava on the backside, the Danube and the Inn on the front. (Thanks to Mierow Brothers, also see the comments)

The statue has been colorized into a blood like color for the album artwork.

It is produced by Jack Frost (a Dylan alias).

The T in the title looks like a cross.

The first track, Duquesne Whistle, appears to be a reference to a 1933 Time Magazine article about a small Pennsylvania steel town.

Tempest (the ninth track) might be about The Titanic and could be around 14 minutes long.

The Album is supposedly 68 minutes long.

The 5th track, Pay in Blood, includes the line, “I’ll pay in blood, but not my own.”

It will be released in the following formats:
1) A “standard” CD jewel case release.
2) A “deluxe” CD release.
3) A double vinyl LP release.
4) iTunes release.

Update: The font of the word Tempest comes from resembles that of a 1961 advert for the Pontiac Tempest (Thanks to stephenoxford and Matthew , check out the comments…)

Update: Pallas Athene was the Shaker of the Spear… just to make a connection with Shakespeare’s The Tempest (Tank you Christopher Twigg, check the comments)

– Hallgeir

Look out for: The River Has Many Voices

This is The River Has Many Voices according to his bio:

The River Has Many Voices(TRHMV) is  Matthew Payne, a singer/songwriter who lives and writes in Dripping Springs just outside of Austin, TX at his ranch house of 126 acres set in the Texas hill country. It is the land where he grew up and it is where he calls home.

Matthew Payne worked as a high school English and Creative Writing teacher for five years. Though incredibly proud of his time there, he decided to leave this work and pursue a life of writing and singing.

There’s a thousand on fire (not released):

It was then, living in a small ranch house, in a span of a month, that he wrote and recorded the tracks that appear on this debut album. Having written for years,
he has developed a musical catalogue much larger than any one album and this comes through with his live shows. He plays many clubs and coffeehouses around
Austin, and some festivals, including Old Pecan Street Festival this fall.

 

Barton Creek [EP]

Barton Creek is a collection of songs integrating harmony and acoustic melody from genres of Folk, Country, Pop, and Americana. The lyrics take the most
importance and involve various topics, including death, love, and living with both of those powerful forces.

As EPs go it’s a long one, it clocks in at 41 minutes. And it is 41 minutes well spent. The six songs are full of optimism, longing and loss.

It starts off with For Emily, a sweet love song with a hypnotic accoustic guitar riff over Matthew Payne’s husky voice. The Harmonies on the choruses are just beautiful. The Lyrics are bittersweet, as the love affair now seems over, but it’s still a  song that praises Emily in a very profound way. I love it.

Continue reading Look out for: The River Has Many Voices

Great Albums: Copper Blue by Sugar

Sometimes an album comes along, an album that you love instantly. It does not happen very often, Copper Blue is one of those instant classics for me.

I love the wall of guitars, the noise, the fantastic melodies, the pop-music sensibillity, the rock’n roll kick to the groin. I just love it!

This is pop music, power-pop at it’s very best.

If I Can’t Change Your Mind:

Continue reading Great Albums: Copper Blue by Sugar