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The last six weeks have been a bit scary and sad for my household and I have felt very edgy and you could say depressed. Usually when I feel like this I turn to my music collection or tune into Youtube but I haven't even felt like doing that. It wasn't really until Xmas Eve when my husband played the Working on a Dream album that the sad spell was broken and I felt like bouncing back. Since then I have been rooting through all my Springsteen albums and came across 'Lucky Town.'
I purchased this little baby in its brightly coloured red cover from Amazon about 5 months ago for a very cheap price of £2.40. As you all know I am in the process of obtaining everything Springer has ever recorded but unlike most people I go about it in a strange way - I never buy material in chronological order so my album collection so far is all over the place. This 9th studio album recorded in 1992 is absolutely magical. As always all the songs are written by Springsteen and although the three girls, Patti Scialfa, Soozie Tyrell and Lisa Lowell have joined him on backing vocals and there is the odd appearance of Ray Brittan playing keyboards and Gary Mallibar playing drums Bruce plays all instruments including some very nice bass guitar. To me, it sounds very much like a solo album.
The album has a very raw sound but not desolate or as polished as say 'Nebraska.' Some of the tracks sound as though they haven't been developed properly; there is room for improvement and the production could be better but saying that it is still a very heartfelt piece of work and beautiful to listen to.
The early nineties was a confusing time for 'The Boss'. He has always given the impression that he is a man with a mission and always super confident. This hasn't always been true. When this album was recorded he was very confused; leaving the super rock star days and his original band behind, being divorced from his first love, moving away from New Jersey to California, taking on a new wife and raising a family. It was a turbulent time and the confused thoughts about love, his musical life and where he belonged come across as confusion on some of the songs on this album. Also, the album was recorded in the studio in just three weeks which is pretty quick work and I can sense the urgency of the album which I quite like but other fans may think it has been rushed.
Every track is a winner on this album - there are no WEAK tracks! The first half of the album begins with 'Better Days', an uplifting, raunchy number with some excellent twangy guitar and smoky, raspy vocals. Bruce is looking forward to his new life with his new love; 'no good sittin' around waitin' for his life to begin when he's got a new suit of clothes, a pretty red rose and a woman he calls his friend.' Excellent drumming and as always the backing vocals are just great. One feature of all Springer's songs I love is the backing singers - they are the icing on the cake.
Lucky Town is the title track and one I should think everyone knows. Lovely bass on this played by the man himself, and his voice is so lived in like the old pair of snakeskin boots he mentions in the song. It's easy to listen to and a very catchy tune with lyrics telling us that he's stepping out of his old skin and moving on to better times. Love the tambourine and the twangy guitar gives it that rocky, country edge. Brilliant!
Moving on to 'Local Hero' which as you might guess is about New Jersey. A little tongue in cheek this song and the lyrics are extremely corny but hey, this is 'the Boss' - the King of Americana. A punchy chorus line, great piano work and cracked, country vocals.
Next song; 'If I Should Fall Behind,' - one of the most romantic songs I have ever heard and my favourite song on the album. I only have to listen to the opening chords and I get goosebumps and by the end of the song I am a wreck. Bruce wrote this song for Patti and it's all about love and commitment. It's a very gentle and tender song and reminds me of my husband. This may sound morose but it's not meant to but whenever I listen to this track I always see the same images and they are my husband and I when we were young , being silly and having fun, holding hands and being told off in pubs and on buses for cuddling and kissing. I also think of death and if my husband should die first then I know I will want to follow.
A snippet of Bruce's very simple but beautiful song;
Now there's a beautiful river in the valley ahead
There neath the oaks bough soon we will be wed
Should we lose each other in the shadow of the evening trees
Ill wait for you
And should I fall behind
Wait for me
Darlin I'll wait for you
Should I fall behind
Wait for me
The second side of the album is a little bit different - a shade darker but not too gloomy. What I love on the track, 'Big Muddy' is the slide guitar which is just so cool and the bass line is eerie - like it is talking to you as the listener - warning you of bad things to come - a cautionary tale but at the same time you feel like you are drowning in the muddy swamp. The construction and phrasing of this song has many similarities to the Door's, 'The End'. Love this track and Bruce's deep and wicked vocal sound.
Changing direction from tradition and the swamp to a another moving and emotional song about his turbulent young life where he's looking for an answer, looking for spiritual redemption. He knows it is out there somewhere - he just needs the proof.
And finally the three last tracks on the second half of the album - all great in their own way. We have 'Book of Dreams' which is another romantic song showing his love and commitment to his new wife. This is a gentle, Dylanesque track - beautiful piano, vocals and harmonica. I am such a sucker for romantic lyrics - I love this track so much - I just want to be held tightly when I listen to this. Beautiful poetry. You are always in my Book of Dreams, Bruce.
In the darkness my fingers slip across your skin
I feel your sweet reply
The room fades away and suddenly I'm way up high
Just holdin' you to me
As through the window the moonlight streams
Oh won't you baby be in my book of dreams
'Souls of the Departed,' is an interesting track - again a feeling of The Doors about it. Haunting guitar, Bruce in preaching, story telling mode. Lyrics; sad and poignant - telling us just how futile war is and how unnecessary the death of so many bright young men is. Bruce plays excellent guitar on this track on the album but if you are a Springer fan and you like old clips then take a look at this with Neil Young.
Finally, one of the best songs written in the last two decades, 'My Beautiful Reward'; tear jerking, straight from the heart - lyrics about a young man from New Jersey who had his heart torn apart, many struggles and losses and believed he did many things that he thought was wrong. This is a bit of an eye opener and he really takes a long look at himself and from listening to the song we are able to understand what is going on in this man's heart and soul. Second best track on the album.
Just recently on one of the Linked In groups (relating to Bruce Springsteen) there has been a discussion on which album is the most underrated album of his. Members of the group voted 'Lucky Town' along with 'Tunnel of Love' as being the two must underrated albums and I have to agree.
So there you have it - another Springsteen review from me. I recommend this album very highly as it's one of the truest, soul searching albums of Springsteen's recordings. Even if you aren't a fan have a listen to this album. It's romantic, raw and the lyrics are beautifully written. The album gives you an inside look at the man himself and how he changes from the tramp on the run to a more content and spiritual being. The booklet that goes with the CD is rather cute too; photographed in black and white by his sister, Pamela, it contains pictures of a young Springsteen sporting a very Italian profile with leather coat, beret and the funkiest pair of leather boots with silver toe caps I've ever seen. Quality pictures and a joy to look at.
Like I said you can find the album on Amazon for as little as £2.40. It's more than a bargain - it's priceless to me. Happy New Year Bruce Springsteen!
lucky town was released the same day as the more studio polished sounding human touch album. after 5 years bruce released two on the same day.
This album is regarded as the better of the two. its more solo more raw and lyrically brilliant.
after the hard work and labour on human touch where he practised different styles an used lots of other musicians he still didnt feel right, so he wrote living proof which led to the whole of this album being written in a matter of weeks.
its more loose raw and has a lot of a appeal.
better days which kicks the album off is one of springsteens best songs which contains some great lyrics, ( its a sad man my friend who's living in his own skin and cant stand the company )
lucky town with its dylan ish vocals is a gritty rock song ( which is 10 times better live on the mtv plugged album)
local hero is a uptempo easy going raw track which also has soem great lyrics where springsteen pokes fun at its own fame ( again sounds 10 times better live )
If i should fall behind is a lovely ballad which has become a bit of a bruce classic. again this sounds 10 times better on the mtv plugged live album.
leap of faith is a fun and sexy lyricial biblical track which was a single along with a great live video. again better live
The big muddy is a mid muddy waters bluezy track
living proof is a great song with some great lyrics and is powerful in its performance and a bit of a bruce solo classic now.
book of dreams is a underated love song, with its lush some might say lushy keyboards. its perfect for weddings.
souls of the departed is a heavyily guitar led swampy distortion rock song about war which live sounds just as good as born in the usa but it doesnt do much on this album
my beautiful reward is another slowish ballad that i'm not to keen on but the live version on mtv plugged live is great and will change your mind if you dont like this album version
overall this a great album that if it was recorded like it sounds live would be one of his best albums without a doubt. a sit stands a mighty fine album with some real gems
Finding myself on Oxford Street (biggest shopping street in London) one Saturday I decided to pop into HMV. The plan was to just quickly spend my crisp £5 gift voucher and then be on my way to satisfy my hunger at that filthy but cheap and delicious kebab shop?Of course things didn?t go to plan and they never do when I go past HMV. It?s such a huge shop you can?t help but spend ages looking at all the various videos, DVD?s and CD?s. Being broke all I ended up buying was Bruce Springsteen?s Lucky Town album. My gift voucher covered it and left me with a penny change to donate to the ?homeless? Romanian asylum seeker outside. (Well I am broke so I couldn?t give any more?) I?m quite a big fan of Springsteen which is pretty unusual for someone my age but I think his music is great and he has to be one of the greatest rock artists ever. Before buying this album I hadn?t heard any of the tracks on it. All I knew was that it was released at the same time as Springsteen?s Human Touch album. Lucky Town was Springsteen?s next album after Tunnel of Love, Springsteen?s fans waited 5 years for a new album after Tunnel of Love and then 2 albums came along at once. (Sounds rather like the 74 bus but that?s another opinion ? see opinions on London Transport?) Springsteen?s double album release was a success with the albums selling well both in America and in Europe. Tours continued to sell out. Of course the boss never matched the success of Born in the USA which sold over 18 million copies but that achievement will probably be never matched again. I don?t have Human Touch the other album in the boss?s double release so can?t compare the two albums but I will give a song-by-song review of Lucky Town: ~BETTER DAYS~ Better Days is a great opening song ? upbeat and loud. Though the lack of the E Street Band is noticeable and solo Springsteen sounds different to when he?s with the E Street Band. More emotional and mature
maybe?Certainly a great song though. ?These are better days baby These are better days it?s true These are better days Better Days are shining through? ~LUCKY TOWN~ A very interesting song, somewhat hypnotic. A good chorus, the title track is definitely one of the best songs on the album. ?I?m going down to Lucky Town Down to Lucky Town I?m gonna lose these blues I?ve found Down in Lucky Town? ~LOCAL HERO~ Very catchy song, there?s probably an autobiographical element to this song. Springsteen describes returning to his hometown. A light-hearted look at Springsteen?s celebrity status. Also features a harmonica, gives the song a really nice sound. ?Local hero local hero she said with a smile Local hero he used to live here for a while? ~IF I SHOULD FALL BEHIND~ This is a far quieter song than the others on the album, unlike the rest of the songs which seem to fit into a ?soft rock? genre If I should fall behind is more intimate and reflective. It could quite easily fit onto Springsteen?s Tunnel of Love album. A superb song, a touching love song. On Virgin Radio it was recently voted one of the three best Springsteen tracks. ?Darlin I?ll wait for you Should I fall behind Wait for me? ~LEAP OF FAITH~ After the softness of If I should fall behind Leap of Faith returns to the soft rock sound of the album. Strong chorus and upbeat lyrics. ?It takes a leap of faith to get things going It takes a leap of faith you gotta show some guts It takes a leap of faith to get things going In your heart you must trust? ~THE BIG MUDDY~ There is definitely a blues sound to this track, it has a similar sound to some of the songs on the boss?s Nebraska album. It?s a pretty good bluesy rock song, not my favourite song on the album but still pretty good. ?Waist deep in the big muddy You start out standing but end up crawlin? <
br> ~LIVING PROOF~ After the slower bluesy rock of Big Muddy Springsteen returns to the overall soft rock feel to Lucky Town. Buoyant and upbeat sounding but the lyrics are quite deep. ?It?s been a long long drought baby Tonight the rain?s pourin down on our roof Looking for a little bit of God?s mercy I found living proof? ~BOOK OF DREAMS~ Reflective and emotional Book of Dreams expresses happiness in its lyrics. It?s about weddings and family but Springsteen refrains from indulging in corny soppiness that we hear so often in pop music where love is concerned. ~SOULS OF THE DEPARTED~ Inspired by the Gulf War Souls of the Departed is Springsteen?s song of the event. Its not like Born in the USA, a loud and angry protest song but is much more of a reflection. ~MY BEAUTIFUL REWARD~ My Beautiful Reward is a chilled out ballad, it has a country style to it which seems to work pretty well. The lyrics are deep and meaningful though and the song is similar to some of the material on the boss?s Nebraska album. The song presents a vision of someone stalking an empty mansion. The lyrics are quite bleak and dark but the song has a nice relaxing sound. Overall Lucky Town is a great album, there isn?t a bad track on the album. Its very easy to listen to. It wasn?t a breakthrough album for Springsteen but from it you can tell he has grown up from the loud rock and roll days of Born to Run. Well worth the fiver I paid for it. The absence of the E Street Band is perhaps an advantage as well as a disadvantage. As a solo album its much more intimate and personal. It?s an album of Bruce Springsteen and his thoughts and reflections. If the E Street Band were present maybe Springsteen?s message wouldn?t have got across as clear. The absence of the E Street Band also means the album is a lot less quieter and doesn?t have the rock and roll sound that made the boss famous. Whether that?s an
advantage or disadvantage all depends on personal taste?It?s worth noting though that Springsteen?s latest studio album ? The Rising produced in 2002 was made with the E Street Band. Thanks for reading All quoted lyrics © 1992 Bruce Springsteen. (Published on DOOYOO, CIAO AND U-RATE-IT)
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Better Days
2 Lucky Town
3 Local Hero
4 If I Should Fall Behind
5 Leap Of Faith
6 Big Muddy
7 Living Proof
8 Book Of Dreams
9 Souls Of The Departed
10 My Beautiful Reward