Archive for Bruce Springsteen

Album of the Day (March 22, 2020) — Kenny Rogers’ Greatest Hits

Posted in Music with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 22, 2020 by macmystery
KennyRogersGreatestHits

Kenny Rogers’ Greatest Hits (1980)

With the bars closed for the COVID-19 novel coronavirus outbreak and Kenny Rogers passing away Friday night at age 81, I figured it was a good a time as any to spend a lot of time writing and listening to music. One result is my album of the day.

I might do one of these everyday. I might not. Who knows?

Bu the album for today … I guess it’s Sunday, March 22 … is Kenny Rogers’ Greatest Hits.

Released on Sept. 23, 1980 (Bruce Springsteen’s birthday), this Liberty release is the top-selling Country greatest hits compilation of all-time, edging Garth Brooks’ The Hits with 22 million records sold.

The first of numerous Rogers’ greatest hits packages, this one actually contained three new tracks on the 12-track album.

A song-by-song look at Kenny Rogers’ Greatest Hits:

1. The Gambler – This is the first hit song ever written by Don Schlitz, penned in 1976 when he was 23. That’s saying something. Initially, he could get no one to record it, so he released it as a single himself. It reached No. 65 on the charts. Shel Silverstein loved the song, convincing Bobby Bare to record it. Johnny Cash recorded it, as well. But it wasn’t until it was recorded by Rogers in 1978 that it had an impact. Released on the album of the same name, it became the first of 24 No. 1 country songs penned by Schlitz. Other Schlitz classics include 40-Hour Week (Alabama), When You Say Nothing At All (Keith Whitley, Alison Krauss), On The Other Hand (Randy Travis) and Forever And Ever Amen (Randy Travis). Of course, the song sparked the successful series of “The Gambler” TV movies starring Rogers and launching his acting career.

2. Lady – One of three songs recorded specifically for this album, it’s the biggest solo hit of Rogers’ career. Lionel Richie, then of the Commodores, wrote the song specifically for Rogers. It would spend six straight weeks at No. 1 in the fall/winter of 1980. It was only knocked out of the top spot the final week of December by John Lennon’s Just Like Starting Over. Lennon had been shot and killed Dec. 8 in front of The Dakota apartment building in New York City. Lady was No. 3 on the Billboard chart for the year and No. 10 for the decade of the 1980s. It is No. 60 on Billboard’s All-Time Hot 100 chart.

3. Don’t Fall in Love with a Dreamer w/Kim Carnes – Carnes, like Rogers, was an alum of folk group The New Christy Minstrels.

4. Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love to Town w/The First Edition – A story song about an impotent, disabled Vietnam veteran who endures his wife leaving home every night to meet other men in town. Written by Mel Tillis.

5. She Believes in Me – Having been truly in love in my life and having lost, this song, for whatever reason resonates with me. It doesn’t matter who you are, in some fashion, to have a relationship, a love that lasts, you are sacrificing somehow. You are somehow settling, somehow disappointed, even those who think they aren’t. And it’s when you and your partner are happy making the sacrifices that you make for each other that something special can happen.

6. Coward of the County – Another story song, this one has not held up for me. I still find myself singing along, but the basic theme of the story is Tommy’s love Becky is raped by the Gatlin boys … and there were three of them. Tommy proves he’s a man by mustering up the courage to single-handedly whip the Gatlin Boys, thus making up for his life of being a “coward.” Except my problem is, what the hell does that do for Becky? She’s still violated and hurt and angry … and giving them a good ass-beating solves none of that. Maybe the world has grown up a little since this song came out.

7. Lucille – Rogers’ first solo country hit from 1977, it reached No. 1 on the Country charts and No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

8. You Decorated My Life

9. Reuben James w/The First Edition – Rogers would say he liked two kinds of songs, love songs and story songs that had social relevance. This is the latter. From Rogers’ First Edition days, he sings of an old black sharecropper, Reuben James, who stepped up and raised the white son of the “gossip of Madison County” who died in childbirth. The song’s narrator is obviously the now-adult child and is singing James’ praises.

10. Love the World Away – The second of three new releases on this album, this song was also released on the hugely popular Urban Cowboy soundtrack. It was a top-5 tune on the country charts and a top-20 song on the pop charts.

11. Every Time Two Fools Collide w/Dottie West – one of a handful of highly successful duets with country darling Dottie West.

12. Long Arm of the Law – The third new release on the album, though not a chart hit, this song remains popular with Rogers fans.

Just a mood …

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on October 30, 2017 by macmystery

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything here. There are a lot of things that I want to write about and a lot of changes in my life and in the world since the last time I did.

But somehow I’ve just got around to this.

It’s not lost on me that this is a day when significant things are beginning to happen that could shake this country up, … even more than it has been shaken in the last year.

And politics isn’t even at the top of my writing wish list. But it will come.

For now, though, it’ll suffice to say I’m getting back into the swing of things.

And I’ll post this song. It’s a mood I’m in. And so it goes …

Missing the Big Man

Posted in Music with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 6, 2011 by macmystery

Tramps like us …

It’s been almost three weeks since I heard the news.

I was working on the sports desk on that Saturday night, when Rob, a guy I’ve worked with for sometime who knew of my affinity for all things Bruce Springsteen, said, “I’m sure you’re all over this, but in case you haven’t seen it, Clarence Clemons died.”

Continue reading

The Promise delivered

Posted in Music with tags , , , on November 6, 2010 by macmystery

Pitchfork.com posted a complete in-studio film and recording of Bruce Springsteen’s long-unreleased classic “The Promise” on Friday. It’s awesome.

I can’t wait for the box set on Nov. 16.

Enjoy.

A glimpse of Bruce Springsteen’s Promise

Posted in Music with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 3, 2010 by macmystery

Frank Stefanko's cover photo for Bruce Springsteen's Darkness on the Edge of Town album.

Whatever mistakes NPR made in the handling of the Juan Williams situation, I forgive them.

For the next two weeks, they’ve guaranteed I can begin loving 15 of the 21 songs on Bruce Springsteen’s upcoming release, The Promise, subtitled The Lost Sessions: Darkness on the Edge of Town, a collection of 21 unreleased songs from the Darkness sessions.

NPR is streaming 15 songs individually, or you can choose to listen to them all together randomly in one stream.

No matter how you listen, the fact is that you can right here. At least until Nov. 16, the album’s release date.

Among the 15 songs are:

  • The original version of “The Promise.” Not only is this the centerpiece of THIS set, it very well may be one of Springsteen’s best, period. There was an updated version released on the 18 Tracks album, but it can’t compare to the original. Seriously, in my book, this is a top-10 Springsteen song.
  • Studio versions of “Fire,” made popular by the Pointer Sisters, and “Because the Night,” completed by Patti Smith. The lyrics are slightly different than the Smith version we’ve become used to.
  • “Come On (Let’s Go Tonight)” is basically an alternate version of “Factory,” which made Darkness. The music is essentially the same and it has that same country feel, but the lyrics are quite different. At least one line in the song, about Elvis Presley’s death, we would later see in “Johnny Bye-Bye.”
  • “Ain’t Good Enough For You” is kind of a goofy, fun, 60s-type pop song. It’s closer to something that might have made The River. But it’s not hard to see how it didn’t fit with Darkness.
  • “City of the Night” is a kind of a tight-but-mellow three-minute soul piece.
  • “It’s a Shame” has a nice guitar rhythm or groove going on between Bruce and Steven Van Zant.
  • “Save My Love,” for which there is a video that I linked to out of this post, is the only song of the 15 that was totally re-recorded. So it’s essentially a 2010 E-Street Band version of a 1978 Springsteen tune.
  • “Candy’s Boy” is one of two songs that eventually were combined and morphed into what we now know as “Candy’s Room.” (The other was called “The Fast Song” and essentially was the musical framework for “Candy’s Room”). It’s kind of slow and this version is cut from the one found on Darkness outtake bootlegs. But I really like it. why? I don’t know. I always have.
  • “Rendevous” is much the same as the live version heard on Tracks, but there are a couple of slight lyrical changes I’m not sure I like.
  • “The Brokenhearted” is a very Roy Orbison-esque song. The title gives away the subject matter.
  • There’s a heavier version of “Racing in the Street,” with some substantial lyrical differences from the track we’ve come to know. The core of the song remains the same though, and I think this one will grow on me.
  • “The Wrong Side of the Street” is another 60s pop song.
  • “Gotta Get That Feeling” recalls the Phil Spector sound, and there’s definitely an Orbison feel to it.
  • “Outside Looking In” is pure Buddy Holly.

The tracks NPR doesn’t preview are “Spanish Eyes,” “Talk to Me,” “The Little Things (My Baby Does),” “Someday (We’ll Be Together),” “Breakaway,” and “One Way Street.”

The Darkness outtakes still missing from this collection are numerous and include “The Way,” maybe one of Springsteen’s most romantic songs ever. There’s no telling if it will ever see the light of day.

Nonetheless, if you listen to these 15 tracks, and the other six on the album, I think you’ll find that even Springsteen’s cast offs during this period were gems.

Save My Love

Posted in Music with tags , , , on November 1, 2010 by macmystery

Bruce Springsteen’s new video for the song “Save My Love” from The Promise, the soon-to-be-released collection of outtakes from the Darkness on the Edge of Town sessions was posted on Monday by the New York Times.

“Born in the USA” anti-American?

Posted in Music, Politics with tags , , , , , , on March 14, 2010 by macmystery

Glenn Beck calls Springsteen’s “Born in the USA” anti-American.

Read here.

I guess dissent is only patriotic if you’re one of those tea-baggers, eh Glenn?

Nut job hypocrite. McCarthy would be proud.