Sunday, 2 October 2016
BOOK REVIEW: BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN-BORN TO RUN
Born To Read.
Birthed on the boardwalks of a New Jersey's American Dream. Wrapped like a bandana around the steering wheel of a classic muscle car until it was tighter than the rest, Bruce Springsteen took to the iconic road metaphor of his lifes work and ran with it. Forget "the new Dylan" or even being his own "Boss". There is only one Bruce Springsteen and the blue collar representation of his hard work has made him one of the greatest singer/songwriters of all-time when it comes to the great American songbook. That's quite a road travelled and a legacy traversed for the legend. Every Springsteen song tells a story. From the downtrodden to the uprisen. He's made classics both in the youth of his career ('Greetings From Asbury Park N.J.') and the latest latter days ('Wrecking Ball'). He's released acoustic stripped down albums that get to the bare bones of his narrators (like the dark desperation of the 'Nebraska', 'The Ghost Of Tom Joad' and 'Devils and Dust' trilogy) and even an uplifting album in memory of those lost after the terroist attacks of September 11th on New York's trade towers (the raw, redemptive resolve of 'The Rising').
Yet we've always wanted to hear more from the bosses mouth for the man who has spent his life speaking up for others and telling their story. Sure there's been a lot wrote about the Boss. From the inspired interview inserts of Clinton Heylin's 'E Street Shuffle' (not to mention the 'Dylan On Dylan' like 'Talk About A Dream'), to the brilliant 'Bruce' book by Peter Ames Carlin, at one recent point thought to be the closest biography we'd get of Bruce to something more like a memoir. But Springsteen who wrote a powerful foreword in late, great partner in live E Street serenade, Clarence Cleamons' 'Big Man' autobiography has finally published his own mesmerizing memoirs. As the autobiography 'Born To Run' (named after his breakthrough and biggest album and hit song of the same name) instantly becomes our new, most sought after Springsteen scribe. With all due respect to the Robert J. Wiserman's wonderful chapter mixtape 'Walk Like A Man' featuring the songs and stories that inspired the rivers of his life. 'Born To Run', accompanied by the musical composition 'Chapter and Verse' of the same black and white, thunderbird lent falls snow drive cover. An inspired and interesting greatest hits package that features bootleg aside, previously unreleased material from his early days with The Castiles, Steel Mill and Bruce Springsteen band, featuring stand outs like 'Baby I', 'The Ballad Of Jesse James' and the before its time aptly titled, 'You Can't Judge A Book By It'S Cover'.
Streaming through his consciousness and the fathers land of his U.S.A. country he was born in, Springsteen writes something as deep as the Man in Black, Johnny Cash's amazing autobiography and as entertainingly well wrote as Willie Nelson's 'My Life'. As a matter of fact the next time you say hello to your four walls and read this by lamplight each night you'll see this story and the writing before your eyes brings even more depth and distinction that the tales he spun before your ears on many a record you and your headphones fell asleep to. Springsteen's scribles even turn a phrase around more times than the conceptual rotations of one of his classics. As he details his life on the road and all the love and sometimes hate he picked up on the way, his never defeated spirit is even scrawled down in an off-beat poet style. Kerouac would be proud. Of course the candid Boss talks about the heart of matters. Where he was born. Where he was raised. His mother. His father. His lovers. His Patti. His band and of course the road he took from E Street to the rest of the world where he showed his soul with all his heart. There's stories you know and ones you don't. Something Jack Nicholson said to him about old blue eyes at Sinatra's funeral, or just how much one of his sons favourite punk bands are a fan of Springsteen senior are worthy of your spoiler free own discovery. There seems like a million little stories like that from a man that has moved more than that many people as he's sung about all their tales of trial and tribulation to. The darkness of his now brought to the light depression serve to soothe other souls however in its powerful poignancy. But here as he really writes about every album and everything for the record you finally get closer to the American icon you've only dreamt of seeing or emulating. At first it seems strange that this formidable figure with a spirit of some mystery is baring all in the book, but this is one case were you should meet your heroes. As Springsteen sings from a different type of hymn sheet and teaches us even more life lessons than he already has in stories and soliloquys that are all power and no preach. It's a gospel that we should read and heed, again and again, time after years down the line, chapter and verse. Run with it, like that runaway American dream...it's your birthright. TIM DAVID HARVEY.