r&r diary – “The Boss Calls the Tune…” – 04.19.21

I love this photo from the inside booklet of the cd. The old guys are in charge. The Boss is calling the tune, the old hands are at the mixing board. It’s sort of like the Wild Bunch, hitting the trail, girding for another battle with their demons.

There is something reassuring about having an opportunity to listen to a new a record, “Letter to You” (2020), by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. These old-timers have been doing it for a long, long time. There is a continuity, even though the years have rushed by, and what Bruce is singing about today, isn’t quite the same as what he was singing about as a young man. 

There is still fire and beauty, and powerful rock & roll in the grooves. 

The Boss always lays it all on the line. Every record. No doubt. And no other band quite sounds like the E Street Band. Interlocking guitars (Bruce, Nils Lofgren, Steve Van Zandt), Gary Talent on bass, Roy Bittan Piano, Max Weinberg on drums, Clarence Clemons’ son Jake on Sax, Patti Scialfa on background vocals, Charile Giordano organ. A layered, complex, undeniable, indelible sound. And there is a joy in the listening. It’s not breaking any new ground. Well-constructed rock & roll played with heart and soul. Bruce is singing about death, loss, time passing. Songs that reflect the years. You know, he is writing about a time when people still wrote and read letters. Lots of ghosts across these tracks. Ghosts hang over everything. It’s a joy, a pleasure, a conjuring, it’s all a bit reassuring.  

Rock & Roll. It saved Bruce, changed his life. R&R changed my life too. – Jammer

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