Meeting Across The River – Bruce Springsteen

Cover of "Meeting Across the River: Stori...
Cover via Amazon

Hey Eddie, can you give us a ride?

There are some songs we hear in this life that are hauntingly epic and touch our souls deeply. One such song is Bruce Springsteen’sMeeting Across The River” from the masterpiece Born to Run album. I’ve always been drawn to this song when I hear it played. It doesn’t hurt that my name is Eddie also. 😉

File:Borntorun.jpg

The song creates a picture which resolves into a black and white film noir. It’s one of those songs I would love to direct and produce a short film about, if I had the money, time and shooting location. For now, I’ll limit my theater of the mind to what is available about “Meeting Across The River.” Rest assured the dream is never far away.

“Meeting Across The River” was the “B” side to the single, “Born to Run“, which made it to the #23 position on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1975. According to the booklet in the 30th Anniversary Edition of Bruce Springsteen‘s Born To Run the musicians who recorded this song at the Record Plant Studio in New York City are:

Bruce Springsteen, Vocals

Roy Bittan, Piano

Richard Davis, Bass

Randy Brecker, Trumpet

My favorite line in the song, “this guy don’t dance”.

The song inspired a book of 20 stories by different authors, Meeting Across the River: Stories Inspired by the Haunting Bruce Springsteen Song .

As an experiment I purchased the Amazon Kindle Edition so I can listen to “Meeting Across The River” and read each author’s interpretation. I also purchased the audio edition of this unique book which was edited by The Boss himself. My lovely wife, Rosemary gave me her Barnes & Noble gift card to get that, thank you dear. (She’s a much more intense Springsteen fan than I am. She bought us tickets in 2009 to see Bruce & The E Street Band Concert #2 and Concert #5, the last concert at the old Giants Stadium before they gave it the Wrecking Ball!) .

I found thisYouTube video to be the best live version of “Meeting Across The River”. It was captured in 1978 at the Capitol Theater in Passaic, New Jersey. The video is choppy and cuts out but it’s so classic Bruce in athletic t-shirt, emoting at the microphone stand with Roy Bittan on piano.

Asides

My son Matthew bought me the 30th Anniversary Box Set as a Christmas present in 2005. His teacher and mentor at The School of Visual Arts was Chris Austopchuk. Chris is Vice President of Sony BMG Music Entertainment where he also handles art direction and design for Bruce Springsteen. Matthew was an intern for Chris at Sony and met Bruce Springsteen in Chris’s office a few years back.

Another friend of mine Ed NaHa was the A&R coordinator at Columbia Records for Born to Run when  it was certified Gold by the RIAA.

Hey Eddie, can you give us a ride?

Garland Jeffreys

ECS on Central Park West
Image via Wikipedia

I drift back to the time when we listened perpetually to FM radio, in particular Metromedia affiliate WNEW-FM 102.7  out of New York City. The year was 1973, Rosemary and  I were newly married and living in an apartment in South Norwalk, Ct.  We were very in league with the NEW-FM disk jockeys such as Dave Herman in the morning and Scott Muni (Scottso) in the afternoon. It was Dave Herman who turned us on to Garland Jeffreys and his anthem-like song, “Wild in the Streets”. Garland’s 45 r.p.m record got a lot of airplay on the station that year, deservedly so 😉

Rolling ahead to 1977, Garland Jeffreys recorded and released Ghost Writer on A&M Records. I used to go on record buying binges to J&R Music World and other record haunts throughout NY City, sometimes buying 10-12 albums at a clip. I recall purchasing Ghost Writer in the Village and playing it extensively on my Sunday morning radio show on WVOF-FM 88.5 at Fairfield University.  I would lean strongly on “35 Millimeter Dreams”, “Lift Me Up” and “Why-O” in my playlists. I was just going through my vinyl collection recently, thinking the next time I see Garland Jeffreys I’ll ask him to sign Ghost Writer for me so I can frame it for my home office 😉

Rolling forward to October 9, 2010, we saw Garland Jeffreys perform live as part of Happy Birthday John, An Informal Celebration of John Lennon’s 70th Birthday in NY City. Here is the video clip of his poetic reading of “Help”, which was very moving to witness.

I was very honored to have a chance to talk to Garland Jeffreys on the steps of the Society for Ethical Culture before the show and again after the concert at the after party at Gibson Studios. I loved his sincerity and the sense of excitement I felt about his career revival.

I’m making a solemn pledge to spend quality listening time with  Garland’s music and his official video channel on YouTube.  I want to become more in harmony with Garland’s music in anticipation of his new recording (which is in production).  He’s stepping up his touring schedule as a result and we hope to catch him live again real soon. 🙂

Garland’s discography is courtesy of Wikipedia.

Solo

  • 1969: Grinder’s Switch Featuring Garland Jeffreys
  • 1973: Garland Jeffreys
  • 1977: Ghost Writer
  • 1978: One Eyed Jack
  • 1979: American Boy & Girl
  • 1980: Escape Artist
  • 1982: Rock ‘n’ Roll Adult
  • 1983: Guts for Love
  • 1992: Don’t Call Me Buckwheat
  • 1992: Matador & More…
  • 1997: Wildlife Dictionary (only released in Europe)
  • 2007: I’m Alive (only released in Europe)

Contributions To Others

Harry Chapin – Short Stories – Daily Post 2011 #9

Short Stories (Harry Chapin album)
Image via Wikipedia

It’s such a comfort being back in touch with the musical spirit of Harry Chapin. I received his CD, Short Stories this past week. This was Harry’s third recording, following Heads & Tales and Sniper and other Love Songs. It was the first of four recordings produced by Paul Leka (Paul was Harry’s producer from 1974-1976) at Connecticut Recording Studios in Bridgeport. Connecticut.


Short Stories is just that, a collection of 10 short story songs written by master story-teller Harry Chapin. The recordings are backed up by Harry’s band at the time, Ron Palmer on guitar. John Wallace on bass and Michael Masters on cello. Paul Leka played all keyboards.  There are various other session musicians that were involved and they are listed here.

I played this album many times during my FM college days at WHNU-FM and WVOF-FM from 1974-1978.

My favorite tracks on Short Stories are W.O.L.D., naturally. I especially love the three songs in succession, “They Call Her Easy”, “Mr. Tanner” and “Mail Order Annie”. Theses tracks flow together with an effortless charm.

The first sentence in this stanza expresses how music will always feel to me. 🙂

But music was his life, it was not his livelihood,
and it made him feel so happy and it made him feel so good.
And he sang from his heart and he sang from his soul.
He did not know how well he sang; It just made him whole.

Mr. Tanner by Harry Chapin. Copyright 1973 by ChapinMusic.

“Old College Avenue” hearkens as my latest favorite as I wax nostalgic envisioning the imagery of walking around a campus university. There is just something about academia that fills my consciousness with dreams of youth and times gone by…

Expect more posts about Harry Chapin as the year progresses 😉

Sniper and other Love Songs – Harry Chapin – Daily Post 2011 #3

Harry Chapin after his concert at the Paramoun...
Image via Wikipedia

Harry Chapin is one of our favorite all-time singer-songwriters.  We were privileged to see him perform eight times from 1974 through 1979 . His concerts were a rich mixture of fun, provocative thoughts, and pinch of balderdash.

Harry was always personable and graciously accommodated my requests for interviews several times. I’ll never forget the night he did two back to back concerts for the World Hunger Year charity at Fairfield University and afterwards came back to the college radio station to do a 45 minute interview with me over the air live on WVOF-FM 88.5.  What made this interview significant was that this was the station where I conducted my “Sunday Morning Sunshine” radio show. Harry’s single was the song I used to open every show 🙂

Harry had a special quality about him, he treated you like an equal by honoring what you knew, then he would add to your collective consciousness with his unique perspectives about music and life.

His second album Sniper and other Love Songs was released in October 1972. It was a change in music direction with its added intensity and depth from Harry and his band. His Top 40 hit, “Taxi” from his first album, Heads and Tales was riding the charts in 1972, so Sniper and other Love Songs was quite the contrast.

Sniper and other Love Songs is a mixed bag of story songs, hit singles and folk classics. “Sniper” is a gripping song that puts you in the mind of Charles Whitman, the 1966 Texas  clock tower assassin. Harry’s portrayal of the sniper is eerily poetic as we find out why the sniper kills others. The voice in the sniper’s head that Harry sings about are the echoes of a mother ignoring and blaming her child for being born. The sniper’s last words, “I was, I am, and now I will be”, are an ironic triumph over a neglected life on earth which perhaps sheds the final insight into the psychology of the sniper, who is on a tortured quest for self-actualization.

Our other favorite two songs on this CD are “Better Place to Be“, which is a song that I urge you to listen to understand the aching of the human heart. “Circle” was a song Harry Chapin performed often as the encore at his concerts. We would join hands in the audience, chiming in with him and the band as their extended theater in the round.

I plan to write more about Harry Chapin on this blog, as I gather up my memories, so until that time 😉

Circle, Written By Harry Chapin, Lyrics copyright Harry Chapin Foundation

All my life’s a circle;
But I can’t tell you why;
Season’s spinning round again;
The years keep rollin’ by.

1. Sunday Morning Sunshine
2. Sniper
3. And The Baby Never Cries
4. Burning Herself
5. Barefoot Lady
6. Better Place To Be
7. Circle
8. Woman Child
9. Winter Song

Tony Lindsay – New Single, Fun in the Sun

If you like rhythm and blues, switched up with horns and driving percussion I highly recommend the new single by Tony Lindsay entitled, Fun in the Sun. Tony’s smooth vocals are complemented by his infectious charm and enthusiasm.

You can order Tony’s engaging new single here.


Tony Lindsay has performed lead vocals with Santana for the past 20 years. When not touring with Santana, he sings for Spang-a-Lang, a local R&B/Jazz/Pop group he founded that has opened for several well-known acts, including Curtis Mayfield, Jr. Walker, Tower of Power, and Average White Band, to name a few. Tony is also a very talented song writer, composer and music arranger.

Check out this solid performer 🙂


Jimmy Webb’s Welcome Resurgence

From left to right Waylon Jennings, Willie Nel...
Image via Wikipedia

I have long admired Jimmy Webb as a singer and song writer. You know his songs well. They live in your heart and blossom like flowers whenever you require them. He has written such masterpieces as By The Time I Get To Phonenix, Wichita Lineman, Galveston, Up, Up and Away, MacArthur’s Park, Didn’t We and All I Know.

We recently saw Jimmy Webb perform at Infinity Music Hall in Norfolk, CT. It was a delightful evening of songs played on the piano, accompanied by the personal remembrances of Mr. Jimmy Webb. He shared his memories openly about such friends as The Outlaws (Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash,Kris Kristofferson and Waylon Jennings) which preceded the song, Highwayman. Jimmy Webb is a very accomplished piano player, which adds a powerful dimension to his on-stage presence. He made Infinity Music Hall feel like his living room. He was very taken with the venue, which always has an engaging ambiance. His stories charmed us as he spoke with warmth and great aplomb about Harry Nilsson, Frank Sinatra and our personal favorite friendship, Richard Harris.

You can hear some of those stories on Jimmy Webb’s recording, Live and at Large.

After an energetic and soulful two hour concert, Jimmy Webb met with his fans in the lobby, signing autographs and posing for pictures. He told me he really liked Santana, which made me smile 🙂

Jimmy Webb has released a new collaboration recording Just Across The River last week. It was recorded over a two day interval in Nashville. The collaborations with esteemed friends includes Billy Joel (Wichita Lineman), Jackson Browne (P.F. Sloan), All I Know (Linda Rondstadt), If You See Me Getting Smaller (Willie Nelson), Galveston (Lucinda Williams), and By The Time I Get to Phoenix (Glen Campbell) just to name a few :). The recording flows evenly as each new texture of Jimmy Webb’s musical tapestry unfolds before our sensibilities. You can learn more about this special collaboration recording, Just Across The River on Jimmy Webb’s Web site.

Its great to see the resurgence in Jimmy Webb’s musical career. He richly deserves the praise he is receiving in the press and music community for this collaborative effort, Just Across The River.

Enhanced by Zemanta