ACROSS THE BORDER
Where the banned are
Well, here we go.
Rolling Stone says Letter to You is the 12th best album of 2020. I actually find that relatively low ranking a refreshing change of pace for RS.
I see it as a place where our sins are obsolved and forgiven. A place where fairness, in her lovely beauty persisits. I believe in hope, and a place called The Promised Land. I believe in love's infinite escape. It all comes to you at the end of the day.
I see it as a call to arms - something along the line "artists united against bigotry, close-mindedness , prejudism, trumpism, racism etc". I don't read any religious, magical or spiritual thinking in to the song.
Interesting take. I take it to be more nostalgic, Bruce said in the 80's that Bruce's generation / musicians of the Sixties were the ones who would save the world - with music. And in 1000 Guitars Bruce still has these idealism, although much more realistic and with the added insight of a more or less fully lived life. Meaning a realisation that the world can't be saved with music, but that you still need to believe that. Don't think your enthusiasm is bizarre either, the song is both encouraging and wistful.
My first thought about 1000 Guitars was that this is how Bruce visualizes heaven. And from this first impulse on, I enjoyed the song calmly, appreciated it for what I imagined it meant to him. The beautifully sung chant at the end has elevated this song into one of his most gracious preaches. Later on, I even read somewhere that Bruce said it was his favorite song from the album. It makes sense considering his Catholic upbringing. Beliefs that might have gone undercover over the years often resurface when people get older.
And then came the latest download, with the beautiful Mary's Place, and bang, the two songs collided. Due to the situation with the disease and living in lockdown, Mary's Place has hit me hard. I moved directly to 1000 Guitars after MP, and suddenly I had a light bulb moment. I realized that this song was Mary's Place part II, the after-party in heaven.
1000 Guitars boosts my hope and optimism, and for some bizarre reason, I feel so encouraged when I hear him sing: 'Well, it's alright yeah, it's alright meet me darlin' come Saturday night.' I feel like I've still got a couple of parties to attend. C'mon Slim slip me in man...
My suggested listen for tonight: All That Heaven Will Allow, Mary's Place, House Of A Thousand Guitars.
I love that interpretation of 1000 Guitars. I will listen to those three as you suggest.
I hear Mellencamp circa Check It Out era on Rainmaker. Not a bad thing whatsofreakinevah.
For me, hearing Mellencamp in a Springsteen song is an indication of that the blood has been polluted with ketchup .
I'm convinced that Rainmaker could be excellently done in the style of Reason To Believe on the D&D tour, maybe with some additional distorted dobro by Nils. Bring on the bullet mic!
Interesting, but yeah...I can see the connection. And it's not complicated, the chorus is almost parodically simple, but it's more than all right.
Wrote this elsewhere but Zoom, I get a total Mary's Place vibe with Thousand Guitars, don't even know why, just the line about the "music never ending" and I think of havin' a party at Mary's Place. I love this song so damn much and not too sure myself all the reasons either, not a complicated song.
To me, 1000 Guitars is kind of a sequel to Where The Bands Are (thematically), seen from the other end of a musician's career, with None But The Brave fitting between them.
I'm not really sure what makes me like the song so much; it might be the way Bruce sounds singing the song - not the way he sings it, but the way he sounds singing (don't know if that makes any sense). It has some of the same type of feeling of belief that Thunder Road has, that Bruce truly believes what he's singing, there's no distance at all.
For me it ends up being a wrap around album ...1-4 and 9-12 .....and if i want to stretch just a little i kind of like The Power of Prayer .....
My top 3 are 1000 Guitars, I'll See You In My Dreams and Power of Prayer. Bottom 3 would be Last Man Standing, Janey and Rainmaker.
I'm now able to listen to Janey and Rainmaker without feeling the need to skip them.
I feel better after seeing the Accountant's and Mario's latest rankings regarding my coolness to Janey Needs A Shooter. By some margin, for me the least of the old songs. It's ok, but nothing really exciting. I like Priest a lot and Orphans quite a bit. Actually, Orphans more and more where if you substitute "America" for wherever Bruce uses "axis" it becomes a whole different thing.
Mind you, my judgement is probably suspect at best because I like House Of A Thousand Guitars. A lot. In a return tribute, it's like a day after hangover to any number of Jim Steinman songs.
@Bosstralian please call me Pete😉
@Accountant Pete Just Pete and no other variations taken from your name? Shame as I had one in mind.
I guess I'll just have to stop the "Count"...
@Mario Brega AP is good too.
Well, House of a Thousand Guitars is not doing too well so far.
Okay, overcoming my indolence, here is my list (no quotation marks to save time).
1. If I was the Priest
2. I'll See You in My Dreams
3. Burnin' Train
5. Song for Orphans
6. The Power of Prayer
8. One Minute You Are Here
9. Last Man Standing
10. Letter to You
11. Janey Needs a Shooter
12. House of a Thousand Guitars
I heard so many interviews that I can't remember which one, but I am sure Bruce said that 1000 Guitars is his favourite.
@whispered secret That's right, and it confuses me.
I have just been watching Breakfast on BBC TV and for the first time made a complaint about accuracy.
Not on politics or anything but on Bruce. Kylie Minogue has just achieved the feat of five number one albums in five separate decades the first female to do so. After the item it was stated that Paul McCartney was the only other one (though not soloi). THEY DID NOT MENTION BRUCE!
So, why didn't the Beeb mention Bruce's achievement? 😪
I had the biggest crush on Kylie back in 86/87 when she was Charlene in Neighbours.
Actually, coincidentally, I became a raving Bruce fan at the same time on the back of Thunder Rd from Live 75-85
Interesting that so many of you go for House of a Thousand Guitars. For now, this seems the weakest song on the album to me. Uninteresting melody, run-of the-mill lyrics - I shall have to work to like that one.
I still think it's the weakest, but I'm happy to be enjoying it more now. If anything it might highlight the strength of the album.
My current ranking (based only on what I'm replaying and enjoying) is:
"If I Was The Priest"
"Letter To You"
"The Power of Prayer"
"I'll See You in My Dreams"
"Last Man Standing"
"Janey Needs a Shooter"
"Song For Orphans"
"One Minute You're Here"
"House of a Thousand Guitars"
And just because, I'll throw in the ranking I posted on BTX on October 17th:
1. "If I Was the Priest"
2. "Janey Needs a Shooter"
3. "Letter To You"
4. "Song for Orphans"
6. "Last Man Standing"
7. "Burnin’ Train"
8. "I’ll See You in My Dreams"
10. "One Minute You’re Here"
11. "The Power of Prayer"
12. "House of a Thousand Guitars"
I'm more than happy to try and defend myself in regards to where I've ranked "Janey" this time around.
Berlintramp i agree with you. I was also upset because i saw an interview with Bruce where he was congratulating himself for being able to write a song using that phrase while never mentioning his friend Willie Nile.
Sort of how i felt when Kid Rocks All Summer Long came out and all they did was wax poetic about Lynyrd Skynyrd and never mentioned Warren Zevon.
Anyway ...Rant Over.
Now I have stopped playing the album all the way through I am mostly going to Burnin' Train, IIWTP and ISYIMD. Also regulars are Ghosts, Rainmaker, SFO and TPOP. As you see I am already using just the initials due to familiarity and bone idleness.
Yes, too many long song titles on this album. I encourage use of initials so we all get used to it, because we all eventually will be doing the same. We need to get to the point where we are so familiar with the initials version that we don't need to think.... I mean, I know instantly what is referenced by WOAD, DOTEOT, WIESS etc. from long time use.
Irishman Is Way Too Pasty
I See Yams In My Drink
School For Oklahomans
Tender Prawns Over Pastry
World Of Agonizing Dentists
Dolts Only Taste Eggs On Tuesday
Wallets Interest Even Stupid Students
Am I close?
Rainmaker reminds me of Magic. Musically, it's quite similar, and the lyrics are vague and desolate, describing humanity on the path to self-destruction. It's is an unusual song about dysfunctional politics and the blind faith doing damage.
Hi @Louisa . The song draws on an old film Burt Lancaster/Katherine Hepburn film, ‘The Rainmaker’, most obviously the line re black and white.
Seems to me it has served as a starting point which was extrapolated from for a deeper message, as you suggest.
Enjoyable enough on a wet afternoon, but wouldn‘t bust a gut to track it down, tbh.
Rainmaker strikes me as being loosely influenced musically by Native American/tribal music, much like Worlds Apart was - again, loosely - influenced by Middle Eastern music, I can kind of imagine John Trudell doing this one.
But, since I really don't have a clue - can anyone say something about this?
The only two references I have to Bruce concerning Native Americans, is an interview with one of the Amnesty tour organisers in 1988, who said Bruce asked him towo questions before agreeing to join; one question was regarding Native Americans. The other reference, is Alan Vega of Suicide, who said that the Reason To Believe on the D&D tour had a real Native American vibe to it.
The only two references I have to Bruce concerning Native Americans
Here's a third, kinda...
I always listen to 1000 Guitars/Rainmaker/Priest. 1000 Guitars is still my favourite (new) song on the album, and it amazes me every time that Bruce actually recorded a better version of Priest than the "original", ref. how The Promise turned out, for example.
Come to think of it, Garry and Bruce are the only ones left who were with the band at the time Priest (and Orphans) was written (and for all we know, may even have played it before). To all the others, that song is probably as "new" as House of 1000 Guitars.
I am unable to pick a favourite song or even a top 3. Unlike WS when I knew the title track was my favourite after just a few plays.