Category Archives: Sound

The Best Songs: Racing In The Street – Bruce Springsteen

Racing in the Street is a ballad written by Bruce Springsteen, it was originally released on his album Darkness on the Edge of Town (1978). The song has been referred to as Springsteen’s best song by a number of commentators. I think it’s at least in the top 10 of my favourite Springsteen songs.

Darkness on the Edge of Town version:

“…And “Racing in the Streets” is still perhaps the best Springsteen song ever.”

– Rolling Stone magazine

Like so many times, before and since, the car is a symbol of freedom in Springsteen’s universe. Driving a car gives you the ultimate feeling of freedom in this world.

The song begins with two friends fixing up an old car. The story is made believable through Bruce’s attention to detail, he seems to know what he is talking about, “I got a ’69 Chevy with a 396, Fuelie heads and a Hurst on the floor”.  The two friends needs the car to go racing, to earn money from street racing. As the story is told, they go from town to town and win easy money. They’re like cowboys in the old west, riding where the work is, no strings attached.

Live version from The Darkness Box, 2009:

The protagonist/the racer and his friend Sonny hasn’t stopped living, even if they have ordinary day jobs. They come home from work, get cleaned up and starts living, they go racing in the streets.

Continue reading The Best Songs: Racing In The Street – Bruce Springsteen

Great songs: Tom Taubert’s Blues – Tom Waits

Wikipedia:
“Tom Traubert’s Blues” opens the album Small Change. Jay S. Jacobs has described the song as a “stunning opener [which] sets the tone for what follows.” The refrain is based almost word by word on the 1890 Australian song, “Waltzing Matilda” by A.B. “Banjo” Paterson, although the tune is slightly different.

Old Grey Whistle Test, 1977:

The origin of the song is somewhat ambiguous. The sub-title of the track “Four Sheets to the Wind in Copenhagen” seems to indicate that it is about a time that Waits spent in Copenhagen in 1976 while on a tour. There, he apparently met Danish singer Mathilde Bondo. Indeed, in a 1998 radio interview, she confirmed that she met Waits and that they spent a night on the town together.

Waits himself described the song’s subject during a concert in Sydney Australia in March 1979: “Uh, well I met this girl named Matilda. And uh, I had a little too much to drink that night. This is about throwing up in a foreign country.” In an interview on NPR’s World Cafe, aired December 15, 2006, Waits stated that Tom Traubert was a “friend of a friend” who died in prison.

Bones Howe, the album’s producer, recalls when Waits first came to him with the song:

He said the most wonderful thing about writing that song. He went down and hung around on skid row in L.A. because he wanted to get stimulated for writing this material. He called me up and said, “I went down to skid row … I bought a pint of rye. In a brown paper bag.” I said, “Oh really?.” “Yeah – hunkered down, drank the pint of rye, went home, threw up, and wrote ‘Tom Traubert’s Blues’ […] Every guy down there … everyone I spoke to, a woman put him there.”

Allmusic Review:

by Thomas Ward
“Tom Traubert’s Blues” is one of Tom Waits’ most popular songs, although this is due in the most part by Rod Stewart’s vastly inferiors cover version. Waits’ original is heartbreakingly beautiful, containing some of the artist’s finest lyrics, especially in the croaking opening “Wasted and wounded/’Taint what the moon did/Got what I paid for now”. The story, essentially a drunken tale, fits the gorgeous, elegiac melody perfectly, and indeed the song is so evocative it’s almost impossible for the listener not to be swept up in the story. Although the arrangement and the use of strings doesn’t take any real risks, it embellishes the melody beautifully. Without doubt, one of Tom Waits’ finest recordings.

Here introduced as Waltzing Matilda at Rockpalast in 1977:

Continue reading Great songs: Tom Taubert’s Blues – Tom Waits

Photo special: The Waterboys Haugesund 9th of March

Waterboys divided the show into two parts, the first was a look back to the great tunes in their songbook, the second was the Yeats-album (+ a solid encore of course).

I have listnened to the Yeats-album extesively and it is finally starting to sink in, it’s a grower. But live, man, it was terrific, and the best part of the show!

Continue reading Photo special: The Waterboys Haugesund 9th of March

Photo special: The Avett Brothers – Oyafestival 2011

From the official web site:

There is no harmony like brotherly harmony. Something indelible in the weave of voices and play of sensibilities is stamped into the fraternal DNA and also stems from a lifetime of shared experiences. You can hear it in classic brother acts across the musical spectrum, from the Louvin Brothers to the Everly Brothers and on down the decades through the Wilson brothers (Beach Boys), the Davies brothers (Kinks), the Allman Brothers and even the Brothers Gibb (a.k.a., the Bee Gees). You can clearly hear fraternal magic at work in the songs of Scott and Seth Avett, better known as the Avett Brothers, as well.

Over the years, the Avett Brothers built up a sizable following based on their rowdy, infectious stage shows. In concert, the high-flying ensemble tears through tunes with unbridled energy, popping banjo and guitar strings right and left while inciting stomping singalongs among audiences that appear to know every word. At times they would seemingly create their own subgenre onstage – “punkgrass,” for lack of a better word. This much is for certain: the Avett Brothers are a grassroots phenomenon, built from the ground up. I and Love and You marks the point at which they’re poised, with perfect timing, to break through to a broader audience.

The Avett Brothers have spent much of the past decade nurturing their skill as songwriters, along with their proficiency as vocalists and musicians. Although Seth and Scott are principally identified with acoustic guitar and banjo, respectively, from their live shows, both brothers also play piano, drums and most anything else with strings. (The brothers possess formidable artistic skills, too, and their sketches and paintings adorn their albums.) Clearly, however, songs are the center of the Avett Brothers’ universe. The brothers turn out songs in profusion. They write them individually, and they write them together. Each might write an entire song, or credit might be split down the middle or any conceivably fractional way. There is no set method to their songwriting. The point is, Seth and Scott generate songs constantly, because that’s what they feel that they were born to do.

 

The Avett Brothers formed in 2001 in Charlotte, North Carolina when banjoist Scott Avett and guitarist Seth Avett joined forces with standup bass player Bob Crawford. At the time, the brothers fronted a neo-punk band called Nemo. They enjoyed blowing it out on electric instruments but eventually began feeling the tug of the acoustic music they’d heard growing up. They were raised in the textile town of Concord, about a half-hour north of Charlotte. Their dad, Jim Avett, had a box of eight-track tapes that Scott and Seth picked through, listened to and digested. It included albums by Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Crosby, Stills & Nash, and Jim’s own folksy duo, Common Decency. Other roots musicians from the folk and country realms filtered into their subconscious, too. Thus, in 2001, the brothers launched an acoustic side band, called Nemo Back Porch Project, for which they added upright bassist Crawford. He recalls the initial meeting with Scott and Seth:

“They were wanting to do some of the music they were raised on via their dad, which was old songs by Rambling Jack Elliott, Kris Kristofferson, Hank Williams and Tom T. Hall. I met up with them on a Sunday night in an empty parking lot. I got out my bass, and these two guys showed up in a gold Ford Taurus station wagon wearing flannel shirts and cutoff pants. They were total grunge kids. We sat in the parking lot, just the three of us, and played ‘Going Down the Road Feelin’ Bad’ and ‘More Pretty Girls Than One.’ Then they showed me an original song called ‘Kind of in Love,’ and it was very interesting. It wasn’t like any of those traditional songs. Different chord structure, with all these minor substitution chords. I was like, ‘This is really unique.’”

Three words that became hard to say
I and love and you
I and love and you
I and love and you

All text from The Avett Brothers web site.

All photos: Hallgeir Olsen

Click on them to get High-Res versions, if you use them, it would be nice if you told where you got them.

– Hallgeir