ROIO of the Week
[Recordings of Indeterminate Origin]




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Bruce Springsteen
Sold On Song [No Label]
Live at LSO St Luke's, London, UK, May 9, 2006.

I was expecting another 12 songs or so of dust bowl styled ballads, aching, bitter, crestfallen and angry as was the case of Bruce Springsteen’s last few solo albums. But folk singer Pete Seeger is one optimistic soul and Springsteen, since his campaign for U.S. presidential hopeful John Kerry, has bounced back from that "defeat" with a new album, The Seeger Sessions, that is defiantly happy, hopeful, and sun-shiny bright. Just listen to the thumping power of Bruce and the Seeger Band on Oh Mary Don’t You Weep. It’s a rabble rouser in a positive way.

He has chosen the BBC’s Sold On Song to stage this fight back against the New Right. The venerable station has the reach and integrity to spread his message. There isn’t a trace of bitterness or defeat when he sings Blind Alfred Lee’s How Can A Poor Man Stand Such Times And Live? He links this song to last year’s Katrina Hurricane that hit New Orleans. Instead it is about gathering strength from the disaster and coming back to see the worthiness of your dreams. Springsteen dedicates this to his "President Bystander" who screwed up the relief efforts royally.

Note the positive spin on Sis Cunningham’s My Oklahoma Home. Instead of lamenting the lost of his home, Springsteen turns it into a gospel revival. And Jacob’s Ladder is played as a dixieland celebration for every step taken, every rung climbed to defy gravity.

Music fans not too keen on politicking should note that music comes first at this show. There’s a great mix of blues, gospel, Irish folk tunes, all mixed to bring out the best from his musicians. There are horns, accordians and stinging guitar solos to color these songs. Springsteen never sounded better. His voice is powerfully convincing when he tells us "we shall overcome".

Pete Seeger of whom the new album is a tribute to, was himself victimised. Seeger and The Weavers were "blacklisted" for unAmerican activities back in the ‘50s during the period of the intense Cold War. He was not cleared until 1962. There was a boycott of his music until the late ‘60s. But he soldiered on with his folk revival making hits of such songs as If I Had A Hammer, Where Have All The Flowers Gone? And Turn, Turn, Turn.

In a similar way, Springsteen has put aside his disappointment and is back as a savvy revivalist recalling the songs of Pete Seeger and his era. Springsteen has no time for bitterness, anger or hate. If the anti-war movement is to gather support, it must first find its confidence and enthusiasm.

My only caveat for Springsteen is this. You don’t know how lucky you are. If you live in a totalitarian state where everything - from political parties, labor unions, the intelligentsia, religious groups, the civil service, the media, business, to arts and culture - is totally controlled you may think differently. You wouldn’t have a chance to organise. They would know through wiretaps, close monitoring of all your activities to put legal roadblocks to stop you. In a totalitarian state, the only freedom you have is the freedom to shop.

This is a wonderful document of the current show Springsteen is bringing to Europe and America for all his fans in places he won’t be visiting. We have to thank the BBC for that.


- Professor Red

Click on the highlighted tracks to download the MP3s (these are high quality, stereo MP3s - sample rate of 192 kibit/s). As far as we can ascertain none of the tracks have been officially released.

These tracks are no longer available for download. Kindly email us at mybigo@bigozine.com if you want to download these tracks at a later time.

 
Track 01 Intro (1.3MB)
Track 02 John Henry (9.4MB)
Track 03 Oh Mary Don’t You Weep (11.4MB)
Track 04 How Can A Poor Man Stand Such Times And Live? (5.0MB)
Track 05 Mrs McGrath (7.7MB)
Track 06 My Oklahoma Home (12.9MB)
Track 07 Jacob’s Ladder (10.8MB)
Track 08 We Shall Overcome (7.6MB)
Track 09
Pay Me My Money Down (10.4MB)
Track 10 Outro (726k)

There were 200 prize-winners at this special concert. Broadcast on BBC Radio 2, May 13, 2006.



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