What Am I Listening To 2014 – “The Ghost of Tom Joad” by Bruce Springsteen

Posted: January 15, 2014 in What Am I Listening To 2014
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Bruce Springsteen, High HopesWhen this song was first released as an acoustic track in the mid 90′
s, there was something about it that made it seem like it was being sung at a whisper and I had to strain to really listen to it even when the volume was turned up to ten. In contrast, the opening chord crash in the version from “High Hopes” may make you jump at any volume, and again when the full band comes in at the end of the first chorus to give it a good thrashing throughout the rest of the song.  It is quite simply one of the best tracks Bruce and the E Street band have done in the last several decades, and this arrangement matches the power and high standard of the song itself.

You can hear this track on the What Am I Listening To 2014 playlist.

One could quibble that “The Ghost of Tom Joad” has already been released on a live EP from the Magic tour with the exact same arrangement right down to the guitar solos, including that of Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello, who must surely be considered at least an honorary member of the E street band by now. (He’s on eight of the twelve tracks on this album). One could make a similar argument about “American Skin” which was first heard on the “Live in New York” album. Then there a couple of covers , and the remaining tracks are made up of songs that have been kicking around unreleased for more than ten years. In fact, the late Clarence Clemmons and Danny Federici play on two each.

In the end, who cares? This is one of the most vital sounding Springsteen albums since the band got back together, and some of these will make you want to stand up and dance or sing. Isn’t that what really matters. Hope there’s a tour.



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