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Friday, 29 June 2018

New Music 2018: Equals - The Alarm

There's loads of links below for every track on the new album as well as for playlists of some older albums and also for more information regarding tour dates etc. Enjoy.

Equals - The Alarm
The Twenty First Century Recording Company
Produced by George Williams
Released 29th June 2018

Equals Promo

One little gripe I have is that if the band are wanting maximum exposure for the album then the little promo above should actually be made public rather than unlisted as folks wouldn't be able to find it.

*Not on the Vinyl Edition of the album

Click on the links above to listen to all the songs on the album.

No one has done more to keep the name and spirit of his band alive and kicking than Mike Peters.

Equals is the first worldwide released album from the band for a good few years (Direct Action in 2010 I think was the last one) and there’s a lot of excitement once again about seeing the music of The Alarm on the shelves in Record Stores across the globe.

Earlier this year there had been a little taster with the Where The Two Rivers Cross EP that was released on Record Store Day and was subject to a Transatlantic Promotional Challenge with Mike Peters performing in the UK (Wales and London) and the USA (New York City and Los Angeles) within the space of 24 hours.

2018 has been a busy year for The Alarm as prior to these releases there had been the reissues of Eponymous and Declaration on Vinyl and CD that stem of course from the early days of the band when they had got signed by I.R.S. and also a Digital only release of 21 (Redux).  The 21 (Redux) album featured new mixes and remastered songs from In The Poppy Fields (2004), Under Attack (2006), Guerilla Tactics (2008), Direct Action (2010) and the Vinyl Soundtrack (2013) and was a glimpse into the life and music of the band since Mike Peters resurrected the name of The Alarm with a brand new backing band that has featured James Stevenson on Guitar (Chelsea, Gene Loves Jezebel, Generation X, Kim Wilde and stacks more), Craig Adams on Bass (Sisters of Mercy, The Mission and Spear of Destiny), Steve Grantly on Drums (Eighth Wonder and Stiff Little Fingers), Steve “Smiley” Barnard on Drums (Robbie Williams and Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros), Mark Taylor on Keyboards (Belinda Carlisle, Elton John and Simple Minds) and Jules Jones Peters on Keyboards and Backing Vocals (Mike Peters and The Poets of Justice). 

The current line up of the band is:
Mike Peters Vocals and Guitar
James Stevenson Bass, Guitars, Backing Vocals
Jules Jones Peters Keyboards, Backing Vocals
Steve “Smiley” Barnard Drums.

On top of the releases there has been a Tour (both UK and Europe), the annual event The Gathering in Wales and also for the first time The Gathering also took place in New York and Los Angeles.

Promotion for the new album will consist of a number of Record Store appearances with Mike performing, signing and I think also a few Q&A’s. There will also be a tour in the USA as well (see The Alarm website for dates). By no means are they sitting on their laurels but are out to unleash “fresh music” upon the masses!

Now, you will note about that I put “fresh music” in quotation marks and I did so for a reason because whilst many of the songs will be new to the unsuspecting public at large they are actually well known to those within the ranks of The Alarm fan base. Last year Mike Peters issued two albums under the banner of The Alarm (Blood Red and Viral Black) that were only available from The Alarm website. What they have decided to do is draw from those two albums what they think are the best songs and release them as a stand alone album. The big question of course is how do they stand up and what sounds can we expect?

There's a new podcast available where Mike speaks about the new album and the songs that are a part of it. Click here to have a listen

Have a listen and see what you think. My own personal view on it is that I am pretty pleased with the choices they made for the album and whilst I still don't get Thirteen Dead Reindeer the rest of the album sounds pretty good to my old ears.

The standout tracks for me are Two Rivers, Coming Backwards, Peace Now, Cenotaph and Tomorrow.

Thursday, 28 June 2018

New Music Video: A Place They Called "Forgotten Town" - Henry Priestman & Les Glover

Taken from the album 'six of one & half a dozen of the other' by Henry Priestman & Les Glover. The video was actually unleashed on the 22nd June 2018.

There's also a few links below where you can check out other music from Henry & Les.

A Place They Called "Forgotten Town"
Henry Priestman and Les Glover

(Les Glover & Henry Priestman)

The song is a reworking of the debut single by The Christians (1987, it reached #22 in the UK Charts) and was written by Henry Priestman, who was also a member of the band. The track was also featured on their self-titled Debut album that reached #2 on the UK Album Charts and spawned four other charting singles with Ideal World reaching the highest placing of #14.

Forgotten Town
The Christians

Henry & Les regularly perform songs from Henry's days in the Yachts (Love You Love You and Yachting Type) and The Christians (Ideal World) as well as songs from Les Glover's Loved Up Les (Men of a Certain Age).

S4L Radio Playlist #8

It's been a couple of weeks since I last posted anything. So here's a new playlist to kick off.

It's a wonderful mix of the old and new with more new than old.

On The Playlist
On The Radio - Donna Summer
We kick off as usual with a song about the Radio on the only Radio Show that's not really a Radio Show at all! I had forgotten about how good this one from Donna Summer sounded all these years on from its release.

Get On Out Of The Rain - Roger Daltery 
Although he's been in my bad books a little for some of his recent comments regarding political issues here in the UK I still have some respect for the voice of The Who on his latest solo offering. Quite like this track (one of many good ones on the album). 

The Kids Are Alt-Right - Bad Religion 
 Heard this one only yesterday and thought it was a pretty interesting take on stuff that's going on in America at the moment. Not sure that I would consider that all the kids though fall under the banner of the Alt-Right though!

Tell Me One More Thing - Wilko Johnson
Good seeing Wilko back recording new music again. Blow Your Mind is a pretty tidy album of trademark blues from the former Dr Feelgood guitarist.

I'm A Mess - Bebe Rexha
 I was slightly put off at first by Bebe Rexha mainly because I really disliked that song she did with Florida Georgia Line (who seem like a kinda fake Country band to me!). But I was quite taken with some of the material on her album Expectations.

Bigger - Sugarland
Another spot of Country Music with the title track to their latest album.

Beautiful - The Alarm
The new album = (Equals) get released tomorrow and here's a track from it. The video was released a short while back.  Maybe it's going to give Mike Peters and The Alarm some exposure beyond their usual fanbase and MP is undertaking some promotional duties with signings and playing live (check out The Alarm website for details).

Love Is A Wonderful Colour - The Icicle Works
Don't Worship Me - Pele 
The two Ian's (McNabb of The Icicle Works and Prowse of Pele and Amsterdam) have had pretty long careers playing in bands and as Solo artists and I have to admit that I do prefer Mr Prowse. I don't really know too much of his band Pele though (apart from a few songs here and there) and must give myself some time to listen to more.
As for Mr McNabb, there's quite a number of of his albums with The Icicle Works that still sound good to my ears and he's done some decent Solo records as well (Head Like A Rock is the best I think).

Knobheads On Quiz Shows - Half Man Half Biscuit
Taken from the brand new album 'No One Cares About Your Creative Hub so Get Your F*****' Hedge Cut'. Half Man Half Biscuit come up once again with a set of songs with some of their best ever on their latest record including Man of Constant Sorrow (with a Garage in Constant Use) and Harsh Times in Umberstone Covert.

I Knew Prufrock Before He Got Famous - Frank Turner
There's a Special Edition of Love Ire and Song to celebrate its Tenth Anniversary of release. It's one of my favourite Frank albums.

Gave You Everything - The Interrupters
 Taken from the new album Fight the Good Fight that is released tomorrow. It's been a couple of years since their last album and they are sounding in fine form with that Punky/Ska edge that is their trademark sound.

Caught In The Middle - Paramore
Another single taken from the excellent After Laughter album.

Don't Be Hiding - Middle Kids
This lot were new to my ears and I really like them a lot. This is taken from their debut album Lost Friends. The video was released yesterday. The album by the Sydney, Australia, trio was released back at the start of May 2018. They have toured recently with the likes of Ryan Adams and the Cold War Kids.

Latchkey Kids - Family of the Year
 Another band who were new to me just a year ago with their fine self-titled debut album have their second album out at the moment entitled Goodbye Sunshine.

The Walking Wounded - Roseanne Cash
Taken from the excellent Johnny Cash: Forever Words album that contains songs written by The Man in Black that were found in various notebooks and hence unrecorded and unreleased. A real quality album that contains Alison Krauss and Union Station, Brad Paisley, Kris Kristofferson, T Bone Burnett, John Mellencamp, Elvis Costello and many others.

Beautifully Broken - Plumb
It's been a few years since the last Plumb album and so it's cool to see Tiffany Arbuckle Lee releasing another record of down to earth pop songs that have issues of faith at their heart. This is the title track to the new album.
My Lucky Scars - Hilary Williams
Waiting On June - Holly Williams
Holly Williams is someone I have spoken of with great affection on this blog before and it's nice to see her sister Hilary finally recording some music as well. My Lucky Scars is the title track of her debut album. Waiting On June is taken from Holly's impressive album The Highway.

The Parting Shot
Drift Away (Live) - Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band
I was listening to the Dobie Gray version of this a few days back and it's a song I've loved for years. Fortunately Springsteen has played it a few times live over the years as well and I always get a kick out of his version. This one is taken from a performance in 2013 in Hannover, Germany on The Wrecking Ball Tour.

Sunday, 17 June 2018

Rewind: Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band - Munich 17th June 2016

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band
The River Tour 2016
Olympiastadion, Munich
17th June 2016

Watch the Concert In Full Here:


Prove It All Night ('78 intro)
Out in the Street
Sherry Darling
Two Hearts
No Surrender
Hungry Heart
You Can Look (But You Better Not Touch)

Death to My Hometown
My Hometown (Tour Debut)
Johnny 99
Murder Incorporated
The River
American Skin (41 Shots)
The Promised Land
Working on the Highway
Darlington County
Waitin' on a Sunny Day
I'm on Fire
Because the Night
The Rising
Thunder Road
Land of Hope and Dreams

* * *
Encore 1
Born in the U.S.A.
Born to Run
Seven Nights to Rock
Dancing in the Dark
Tenth Avenue Freeze-out

* * *
Encore 2
For You (solo acoustic)

Songs highlighted in Blue are from The River album

A strong 31 song set spanning three hours and twenty one minutes opens with the first play on the tour of Prove It All Night with the '78 Intro. My Hometown was the only Tour Debut of the night.

Despite the tour being called The River Tour 2016 only six songs from the album were actually played on the night in Munich. It actually wouldn't be until the second night in Paris (13th July) that the band would actually perform the whole album in sequence for the first time ever on European soil. It would also get played in Gothenburg (23rd July) and Oslo (28th July).

Thursday, 14 June 2018

A Few Favourite Albums: Coverage - Mandy Moore (October 2003)

An Introductory Note

More than a few people will be surprised to see this particular album among my favourites and will probably assume that my mental state is somewhat on the decline! Never a fan of the Music Police I take heart in the fact that I like what I like and I'm not overly bothered if others sit and grumble, turn up their noses and wave their fists toward me in despair!

Some might assume that this is some kind of guilty pleasure but I personally do not have such things. As I have said if I like something then it's my own personal choice, you don't have to agree with me but don't write it off without actually listening because there's nothing worse than musical snobbery that's rooted in ignorance (I would confess to having been guilty of that myself in the past but have been doing my best to rectify such sad behaviour!).

 Coverage - Mandy Moore
Produced by John Fields
Released October 2003
US Chart #14

1 Senses Working Overtime (Andy Partridge) 4:10
2 The Whole Of The Moon (Mike Scott) 5:03
3 Can We Still Be Friends (Todd Rundgren) 3:40
4 I Feel The Earth Move (Carole King) 3:10
5 Mona Lisas And Mad Hatters (Bernie Taupin and Elton John) 4:51
6 Drop The Pilot (Joan Armatrading) 3:46
7 Moonshadow (Cat Stevens) 3:01
8 One Way Or Another (Debbie Harry and Nigel Harrison) 3:34
9 Breaking Us In Two (Joe Jackson) 4:28
10 Anticipation (Carly Simon) 3:23
11 Help Me (Joni Mitchell) 3:31
12 Have A Little Faith In Me (John Hiatt) 4:03

CD/DVD Edition
DVD contains an Interview with Mandy Moore and Have A Little Faith Promo Video.

    Mandy Moore – vocals   
    Jim Anton – bass
    Kevin Augunas – bass (electric), engineer
    Tommy Barbarella – synthesizer, piano, organ (Hammond), piano (electric)
    Michael Bland – drums
    D.J. Bonebrake – vibraphone
    Ken Chastain – bass, percussion, tambourine
    Julius Collins – vocals
    Dorian Crozier – percussion, drums, engineer
    Evan Dando – guitar (acoustic)
    Christina Ehrlich – stylist
    John Fields – bass, guitar, guitar (baritone), guitar (electric), French horn, keyboards, vocals, and string arrangements
    Dirk Freymuth – guitar
    Loren Gold – piano
    Billy Hawn – percussion
    Eric Heywood – pedal steel
    Kenny Holmen – flute, sax (tenor)
    Dave Jensen – trumpet
    Kathy Jensen – sax (baritone)
    Ameena Maria Khawaja – cello
    Noah Levy – drums
    Matt Mahaffey – piano, drums, Chamberlin, effects, Minimoog
    George Scot McKelvey – guitar
    Josh Myers – string arrangements
    Danielle Nesmith – violin
    Mike Ruekberg – guitar (acoustic)
    Phil Solem – guitar (acoustic), guitar, mandolin, vocals
    Audrey Solomon – violin
    Steve Strand – trumpet
    Danny Wilde – vocals
    Dan Wilson – vocals
    Jordon Zadorozny – guitar

Singles On Coverage
Have A Little Faith In Me
Released July 2003
US Pop Chart #39

Drop The Pilot*
Released October 2003
Did Not Chart

*Couldn't find any artwork for this at all, even on Discogs!

Senses Working Overtime (Live Sessions@AOL)
Released January 2004
Did Not Chart


Coverage is the fourth studio album from Mandy Moore and her last (apart from a Best of) for Epic Records before departing the label in 2004 due to "creative differences" - roughly this can be translated as Moore having been with the label since she was 15 years old, cutting her teeth touring with the likes of the Backstreet Boys and NSYNC and being promoted along the same lines as Britney Spears and Christine Aguilera, basically didn't want to continue with that route, preferring to adopt a more musically mature sound that spotlighted songwriting and proper musical instrumentation. Epic were not so keen on this new direction and she was released from her contract. 

This new direction would come to fruition with her 2007 release Wild Hope (The Firm Music) and 2009's Amanda Leigh (Storefront) on which she co-wrote all of the songs.

Now, I have not always been a fan of Covers albums because there's too many of them around these days and some tend to be a bit sloppy and unimaginative. What I liked about Coverage is that here was an artist who was trying to find her real place within the music industry (although she was already branching out into film etc) rather than continuing to fit into the template her label wanted. 

Her choice of songs for the project was interesting (all songs are drawn from the 1970s and 1980s) and whilst they maybe didn't all work out, the fact that she was willing to give it a go was impressive enough to me and proof that she was doing the right thing in moving away from that manufactured pop stuff.

The album did receive very mixed reviews but that was always going to happen when a "Bubblegum popstar Princess" breaks out of their mould! The album did reach #14 in the Billboard 200 Chart (her highest chart placing for an album) despite selling a disappointing 315,000 in the USA (it wasn't released worldwide and I seem to remember picking up an Import copy).

About The Tracks*
(Access to the original songs can be found by clicking on the links)

The opening track, "Senses Working Overtime" is a cover of the English band XTC, released in 1982 and written by Andy Partridge. "The Whole of the Moon" is a cover of the band The Waterboys, originally released in 1985. "Can We Still Be Friends" is a cover of singer Todd Rundgren. The lyrics describe a relationship to which Rundgren and the woman to whom he is singing have given great effort, but simply cannot work. The song is generally assumed to be about Rundgren's breakup with long-time companion Bebe Buell in 1977. "I Feel the Earth Move" is a song written and recorded by pop singer-songwriter Carole King. "Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters" is a 1972 song from the Elton John album Honky ChΓ’teau. It was written by Bernie Taupin and is his take on New York City after hearing a gun go off near his hotel window during his first visit to the city. "Drop the Pilot" is a song written and originally performed by Joan Armatrading. It was the first single to be released from Armatrading's 1983 album The Key. "Moonshadow" is a song from the album Teaser and the Firecat, released by Cat Stevens in 1971. "One Way or Another" is a song by American new wave band Blondie. Written by Debbie Harry and Nigel Harrison for the band's third studio album, Parallel Lines (1978), the song was inspired by one of Harry's ex-boyfriends who stalked her after their break-up. "Breaking Us in Two" is a cover of singer Joe Jackson, while "Anticipation" is a song by Carly Simon. It was the most famous track from her 1971 album of the same name. "Help Me" is a love song written, produced and performed by Joni Mitchell, from her 1974 album Court and Spark"Have a Little Faith in Me" is a song written and performed by John Hiatt that appears on his 1987 album Bring the Family.

* Borrowed and edited from Wikipedia

It's been a long time since Moore has put new music out but there are plans afoot for more. For the time being though she can still be heard singing every now and again on This Is Us in her role as Rebecca Pearson. The show has won various awards and had numerous nominations including a Golden Globe Nomination for Mandy Moore in 2017.

Friday, 8 June 2018

S4L Radio Show Playlist #7

Welcome to another edition of the S4L Radio Show (that's not really a Radio Show but merely an excuse to throw together a bunch of music in a Playlist for your listening pleasure). 

Here's a few things I've been listening to lately. As usual it's a real mix of sounds both old and new with a few live performances thrown in for good measure.

What's On The Playlist
1. Pirate Radio - Mojo Nixon & Skid Roper
2. Take Me With You - Tremonti
3. Where Are All The Dreams? - Jesus Jones
4. Two Rivers - The Alarm
5. Lost My Mind - Lily Allen
6. Miracle - Chvrches
7. Walk The Walk - Gaz Coombes
8. Reasons Not To Be An Idiot - Frank Turner
9. The '59 Sound (Letterman) - The Gaslight Anthem
10. People Have The Power (Live at The Roundhouse June 2018) - Patti Smith
11. Beds Are Burning (Live in Dublin June 2018) - Patti Smith
12. Fall Apart - Maps & Atlases
13. Bad Luck - Neko Case
14. Into My Arms (Nick Cave Cover) - Roger Daltrey
15. No Surrender (Bruce Springsteen Cover) - Holly Williams
16. Cover Me (Live at Hard Rock Calling) - Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band
17. Soulfire (Live NJ Hall of Fame May 2018) - Little Steven and The Disciples of Soul
18. Dedication - Gary U.S. Bonds
19. Bad Bad News - Leon Bridges
20. End - MxPx

Monday, 4 June 2018

A Few Favourite Albums: Dedication - Gary U.S. Bonds (April 1981)

Dedication - Gary U.S. Bonds
EMI America Records
Produced by Gary U.S. Bonds, Bruce Springsteen and Steven Van Zandt
Released April 1981
U.S. Chart #27

Listen to Dedication Here:

Tracklist and Songwriters
Side A
A1 Jole Blon 3:25 (feat. Bruce Springsteen on Vocals)
A2 This Little Girl 3:42 (feat. Bruce Springsteen on Vocals, the song was also written by Springsteen)
A3 Your Love 3:26 (feat. Ben E. King and Chuck Jackson on Vocals, the song was written by Bruce Springsteen)
A4 Dedication 3:11 (written by Bruce Springsteen)
A5 Daddy's Come Home 6:22 (written by Steven Van Zandt)
Side B
B1 It's Only Love 3:03 (written by John Lennon)
B2 The Pretender 6:12 (written by Jackson Browne)
B3 Way Back When 4:03 (written by Bonds and George Bruno)
B4 From A Buick 6 4:24 (written by Bob Dylan
B5 Just Like A Child 3:40 (written by John Clemente. Laurie C. Anderson, Louis Conte)

    Gary U.S. Bonds - lead vocals
    Bruce Springsteen - guitars, background vocals (solo "Jole Blon")
    Steven Van Zandt - bass, fuzz bass, guitar, bongos, background vocals
    Roy Bittan - keyboards
    Clarence Clemons - saxophone, background vocals
    Danny Federici - accordion, keyboards
    Garry W. Tallent - bass
    Max Weinberg - drums

    Additional musicians:
        Chuck Jackson - vocals
        Ben E. King - vocals
        Ellie Greenwich - background vocals
        Carol Williams - background vocals
        John Clemente - bass
        Rusty Cloud - keyboards
        Luis Conte - guitar
        Rick Gazda - trumpet, background vocals
        Ula Hedwig - background vocals
        Brenda Hilliard - background vocals
        La Bamba - trombone
        Eddie Manion - tenor saxophone
        Mike Micara - drums
        Rob Parissi - guitar
        Michael Spengler - trumpet
        Joey Stann - baritone saxophone, background vocals
        Carole Sylvan - background vocals
        Brenda Joyce Hillard - background vocals
        Mikie Harris - background vocals

Singles On Dedication
(UK Picture Sleeve)

(U.S. Picture Sleeve)

This Little Girl / Way Back When
U.S. and UK Release April 1981
U.S. Chart #11
UK Chart #43

(UK Picture Sleeve)

(Dutch Picture Sleeve)

JolΓ© Blon / Just Like A Child
U.S. and UK Release July 1981
U.S. Chart #65
UK Chart #51

(UK Picture Sleeve)
It's Only Love / This Little Girl (Live)*
Released September 1981
UK Chart #43

*In other European Territories Your Love was the B-Side

Your Love / Just Like A Child
U.S. and Canada Release
Released October 1981
Did Not Chart

Capitol Theater NJ

Your Love
Daddy's Come Home
This Little Girl
Quarter To Three

When mention is made of the great Soul singers of the Sixties there's a couple of names that are usually absent from the list, James Carr (I did a post about him awhile back) and Gary U.S. Bonds

Today the spotlight shines on Gary U.S. Bonds. I first heard of him back in the late Seventies when I heard a Bruce Springsteen bootleg and he was playing Quarter To Three. In the UK he had a couple of hit singles (New Orleans - #16 in 1960 and Quarter To Three - #7 in 1961) and even in his homeland he had a few hit singles between 1960-62 and a load of singles afterwards (up until 1975) that didn't chart at all.

He only released two albums in the Sixties, Dance 'til Quarter to Three with U.S. Bonds (1961) and Twist Up Calypso (1962) and it wouldn't be until 1981 that his third studio album gave a resurgence to his career thanks to Steven Van Zandt, Bruce Springsteen and the rest of The E Street Band.

Bruce Springsteen not only provided Production on it but also a few of the songs that would make up the Dedication album (This Little Girl, Your Love, and Dedication) but he added his vocals and guitar to both This Little Girl and JolΓ© Blon. Steven Van Zandt wrote the excellent Daddy's Come Home (and showed just what a talented writer he is) as well as offering his Production skills and his instrumental abilities. The E Street Band alongside many members of The Asbury Jukes are also in force giving their backing to the project.

It's a really great album with a bit of a Sixties feel to it yet doesn't feel dated at all. The choice of covers is pretty much on point, especially Bonds' reading of the classic Jackson Browne song The Pretender (which is one of my favourite songs on the album).

A bit of stuff for the Musical Anoraks! πŸ˜€

Dedication would not be the last time that Gary U.S. Bonds would work along Springsteen, Van Zandt and The E Street Band as year later the On the Line album (Listen here to the album, two tracks are missing (Springsteen's All I Need and Van Zandt's Last Time) as I couldn't find them on You Tube) would be produced again by Springsteen and Van Zandt and seven of the tracks are written by Bruce, one by Little Steven. Word is that there were actually another three songs written by Springsteen that were recorded but not released (Action in the Street - still unreleased on any album by Springsteen to date - though a live version from 1977 is on an Archive release; Lion's Den - appeared on the Tracks Box set by Springsteen in 1998; and Savin' Up - was released on Clarence Clemons debut album Rescue in 1983).

In the liner notes on the Razor Edge Reissue in 1991 it was mentioned that Bruce's vocals were removed from the album by order of Columbia Records and apart from the songwriting credits his name doesn't appear, but he does under the pseudonym of Rusty Cloud! The duet of Angelyne instead featured the vocals of Little Steven.

The 1984 album Standing in the Line of Fire features Little Steven on the title track that he wrote for the album. Back last year during the Soulfire Tour Gary U.S. Bonds joined Little Steven and The Disciples of Soul on stage at The Paramount Theater in Huntington, New York to perform it. Little Steven included the song on the Soulfire album released in May 2017.

Gary U.S. Bonds would team up again with Bruce Springsteen on the opening track of his 2004 album Back In 20, Can't Teach An Old Dog New Tricks.

In 2012 Gary U.S. Bonds joined Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band on stage at the Metlife Stadium to sing JolΓ© Blon and This Little Girl.

In two days time (6th June 2018) Gary U.S. Bonds will hit the magical age of 79 years old, so in advance of that day we offer up a birthday greeting to him and thank him for more than 60 years service in Soul, R&B and Rock & Roll.

Saturday, 2 June 2018

40 Years Old Today: Darkness at the Edge of Town - Bruce Springsteen (1978)

Darkness on the Edge of Town - Bruce Springsteen
Produced by Bruce Springsteen, Jon Landau and Steven Van Zandt
Released 2nd June 1978
US Chart #5
UK Chart #16

Side 1

Side 2

    Bruce Springsteen – lead vocals, lead guitar, harmonica

The E Street Band
    Roy Bittan – piano, backing vocals
    Clarence Clemons – saxophone, backing vocals
    Danny Federici – organ, glockenspiel
    Garry Tallent – bass guitar
    Steve Van Zandt – rhythm guitar, backing vocals
    Max Weinberg – drums

Singles from Darkness on the Edge of Town

(Yugoslavian Picture Sleeve)

Prove It All Night / Factory
Released May 1978 (USA) June 1978 (UK)

US Chart #33

(Spanish Picture Sleeve)

Badlands / Streets of Fire
Released July 1978 (USA)
US Chart #42

UK and other European Territories Single also released in July 1978 had Something In The Night as the B-Side

(Irish Picture Sleeve)

Promised Land / Streets of Fire
October 1978 (UK and Ireland)

Other Darkness Related Live Material

 Darkness at the Edge of Town - Live
Giants Stadium
2nd October 2009


Darkness at the Edge of Town
Live at Paramount Theater

There are loads more links below to Full shows and to specfic songs. Click on the links to enjoy more from the Darkness era.

The Darkness on the Edge of Town Tour kicked off in Buffalo on 23rd May, followed by Albany (24th), a two night stand at The Spectrum in Philadelphia on the 26th and 27th before seeing out the month with a three night stand at The Music Hall in Boston (29th, 30th and 31st). On the actual day of release of the album he was probably playing the least rock and roll venue on the planet...the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis (his second appearance there having played 28th May 1976)!
Let's rewind for a few moments because three years had passed since the release of Born To Run and a lot of things had changed, namely there was no more Mike Appel in Bruce's corner due to a legal dispute that prevented the recording of new material (I'm pretty sure there's not much need to go over that ground here). With that legal battle finally sewed up it was time to get back to the studio.
One of the earliest songs that was demoed that did make it onto the album was Something In The Night. Springsteen had said as far back as 1976 that was going to be on the album but the version he was playing was very different to what ended up getting recorded. I actually really love the 1976 version. By 1977 it had changed to become the version we are more familiar with as this performance in February 1977 at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto attests.
According to Clinton Heylin's book, E Street Shuffle The Glory Days of Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band, on 1st June 1977 Springsteen laid down the demos for eight songs: Our Love Will Last Forever, Breakaway, Don't Look Back, Rendezvous, Outside Looking In, Something In The Night, Because The Night, and I Wanna Be With You. Dave Marsh had been a bit fluid with the numbers when he had actually said that 20 tracks were laid down in one night!
More tracks would fall by the wayside between October 1977 - March 1978 but thankfully they saw the light of day in 2010 with the release of The Promise: The Darkness on the Edge of Town Story Boxset and the stand alone release of The Promise album and a few tracks had already appeared on the Tracks Boxset (Don't Look Back, Hearts of Stone, Iceman and Give The Girl A Kiss). Others have remained unreleased (but thanks to the Bruceleggers can be found scattered around on various albums) and a few tracks were held back and would turn up on The River album in 1980 (Independence Day, Sherry Darling, The Ties That Bind, Drive All Night, Ramrod and Point Blank).
Songs like Fire, Because the Night, Hearts of Stone, Talk To Me, Don't Look Back, and Rendezvous would all find homes in the catalogues of other artists with Fire (The Pointer Sisters) and Because The Night (Patti Smith) being the most successful of the bunch.
It's clear that Steven Van Zandt had the opposite view with regard to accumulating songs: "Basically, the first ten good songs you write, you're supposed to put them out. Well, that process would end - forever." But Bruce had a theme in mind and therefore he chose very carefully what ten songs would make up the final released product.

A personal word

I had actually intended to write a bit more on this but I've had a pretty crappy day with my epilepsy and have been unable to concentrate properly for long periods of time. I actually begun working on this around 10am this morning and six hours later (after taking a rest after a seizure) I'm going to finish up with some words I previously wrote a couple of years ago about the album.
Apologies if you were expecting something a bit more insightful! I just can't do it today! 😧

"My own thoughts about the album at the time (I was 15 years old when it came out!) was that here was a bloke who knew a thing or two about life and was able to communicate something of the desolation of being stuck somewhere you didn't want to be. I always get a bit annoyed by people who assume that because Bruce is American and he's often writing from an American perspective that he has nothing in common with those outside of the USA. But the fact is alienation, struggle, relationship issues, despair and hope etc are actually very universal themes so it's quite easy I think to find yourself in his songs even if you were growing up in London in 1978."
Happy 40th Anniversary, and I dedicate this post to John Kelly and all on Brucebook over on Facebook.

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