Centerfield #JohnFogerty #BruceSpringsteen

Happy birthday to Mr. John Fogerty!
” Fogerty created a world of childhood memory and of men and women with their backs to the wall. A landscape of swamps, bayous, endless rivers, gypsy women, back porches, hound dogs chasing ghosts, devils, bad moons rising… In the late Sixties and early Seventies,Creedence Clearwater Revival] weren’t the hippest band in the world – just THE BEST”. Bruce Springsteen

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band with John Fogerty – Centerfield at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul MN on October 5, 2004. From the DVD “Rockin’ Ass In Minneapolis”:

This land was made for you and me #woodyguthrie

“You throw a rock in water, and you watch the ripples,” Nora Guthrie said. “I see these people singing these songs, and I’m not responsible for what happens. Each of them sees Woody through their own eyes; no one really knows who Woody was or is. I love it when I see people like Springsteen and Morello or John Fogerty together with those songs, because it all comes together in the big picture.” Nora Guthrie

We are late to celebrate Woody Guthrie’s birthday, born on July 14, 1912, but we’d like to think of him for a moment. We know that Bruce is a fan of the Dust Bowl-era folk troubadour in many ways. Guthrie’s signature song “This Land Is Your Land” was performed live by Bruce for all the Eighties, and Bruce himself said that he had been directly inspired to record The Ghost of Tom Joad by Guthrie’s work. Plus, he played two songs in the Guthrie-Leadbelly tribute album Folkways: A Vision Shared, “I Ain’t Got No Home” and “Vigilante Man” (if you don’t have please check it, is a very good one, featuring artists such as Bob Dylan, Emmylou Harris, Little Richard, John Mellencamp, Willie Nelson and Pete Seeger, among many others).

Bruce also paid homage to the torbadour on his keynote address at the SXSW music industry festival in Texas, where he first conceded that he had no interest in becoming a resurrection of Woody Guthrie, who never had a hit record or a platinum disc. “I liked the luxuries and comforts of being a star,” he laughed. But after reading Joe Klein’s “Woody Guthrie: A Life” in his early 30s, the Boss felt he’d obtained a strategy for shaping the form he loved — rock music — into something that could address grown-up problems.

“I’ve first fallen for the stories — and the hard stoicism — of country music. But even as I was attracted to the fatalism of country artists like Hank Williams and Jerry Lee Lewis, I found something toxic about those singers’ resignation to cruel fate. I wanted an answer to the implicit question posed in Williams’ “My Bucket’s Got a Hole in It”: why, I wondered, were hard times permanent for working men and women?”

and in Guthrie’s work, he found a way forward: “fatalism tempered by a practical idealism,” and a conviction that “speaking truth to power wasn’t futile.”.

“There was always some spiritual center amid Woody’s songs. He always projected a sense of good times in the face of it all. He always got you thinking about the next guy, he took you out of yourself. I guess his idea was salvation isn’t individual. Maybe we don’t rise and fall on our own.

Bruce Springsteen

You can’t stump the E Street Band


One thing that always got me real crazy in Bruce’s career are the covers.

I mean, I understand some obscure singer trying to emerge on the scene who goes on stage on his first shows and switches between his songs and some covers to give the audience a better set list. But Bruce on his first years had already composed many songs, in fact more than some groups on their entire career, and still he remained a believer in the covers of great rock’n’roll songs.

Therefore, as a fan, I’ve always been interested and passionate about his covers, and he really opened an entire world of music to me: I heard Who’ll stop the rain and off to buy records from The Creedence Clearwater Revival and John Fogerty; he played Let the four winds blow and I ran to the record shop to buy everything on Fats Domino; and on and on and on.

I really had an obsession, I made myself some cassettes (C90) with just covers from bootlegs of various shows, some had such a poor sound that were almost all whispers and far far cries and constant crackle… they were more a sèance, you had to rely on the Bootleg title track to understand which song you were actually listening to.

But anyway, I often decided to buy one bootleg or another depending on which covers he had played on that show: Oh shit here he played You can’t sit down, Oh God here I have Run through the jungle and so on. I really became an expert, I studied all the cover performances, and still now if you say “I’d like to hear The Ballad of Easy Rider” BANG! here I come with “1981, Los Angeles, CA, A night for the Vietnam Veterans” (Ok that’s an easy one, I know, just sayin’…).

But that’s me. What is really important is that he showed me an open road of great rock’n’roll music, and rythm’n’blues. And I have to say that some Bruce’s versions with the E Street are more powerful of the originals, stronger, and more overheated. The original are often nice songs, but sometimes old, weak, in a way. But with Bruce’s touch they come alive again, they become real knockouts, and more important, he puts a trademark on the song, so HIS version is sometimes THE version you really want to hear.

My top five live covers:

1) Boom, boom, boom, 1988. I didn’t know it actually was a cover of a cover (the Animals playing John Lee Hooker) but when he played I was there, overwhelmed and totally crushed.

2) I saw her standing there, London 2012. Paul McCartney e Bruce onstage together, that was a dream come true, I had goosebumps all over my body. Plus my little boy was in a Beatles-mania period, it was one of those moments in which Bruce enters your life so naturally, as if he actually knows what you’re doing.

3) When you walk in the room – Kilkenny 2013. This one, together with “Then she kissed me”, was one song I continuously blasted away on my tape recorder when I was young, it was on all of my famous cassettes, I really did not believe I would have listened to it live one day.

4) Detroit Medley 2003, that was another piece that I loved from the No Nukes period. Real essence of rock’n’roll, so glad it crossed the ocean and he began to play it in Europe too.

5) Twist and shout Amnesty tour, 1988. That was a great great version,  an epic way to end a show.

My dream cover, first one in My wish list is I want you, Bob Dylan’s, as he played it in 1975.

Then Drift away, It’s my life, and Jole Blon.

Gotta keep on dreaming!