Bruce Springsteen, "One Step Up," C or D

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To be clear, except for Born In The U.S.A., I hate Springsteen's fist-pumping, frat-boy side.

One of my favorite recordings anywhere is a bootleg of him doing this song at a Neil Young Bridge Benefit concert around 1988 or so. Acoustic, but much rawer than the later acoustic versions of this song. And it just ends "10 years going down the road/Got nowhere to run, I ain't got nowhere to go" and then a loud dissonant ugly chord, and that's the whole song.

Eazy, Friday, 21 September 2007 20:14 (thirteen years ago) link

nine months pass...

Oh, it's magnificent!

As usual, I see that I have already said this.

the pinefox, Thursday, 17 July 2008 14:53 (twelve years ago) link

One of my favorite recordings anywhere is a bootleg of him doing this song at a Neil Young Bridge Benefit concert around 1988 or so. Acoustic, but much rawer than the later acoustic versions of this song. And it just ends "10 years going down the road/Got nowhere to run, I ain't got nowhere to go" and then a loud dissonant ugly chord, and that's the whole song.

Eazy, or anyone else, can you give me any other pointers on where to find this recording? It sounds incredible! But I asked my Springsteen maniac friend, and he's never heard of it. He scoured a couple of Bruce bootleg sites and couldn't find it there either. Bruce played the Bridge School benefit in 1986, but it doesn't indicate that he played "One Step Up" that day, or any other Tunnel of Love material for that matter.

So help! please! I want to hear this!

Euler, Thursday, 17 July 2008 21:55 (twelve years ago) link

I think Eazy was talking about "Born in the USA".

Mark Rich@rdson, Friday, 18 July 2008 01:22 (twelve years ago) link

ah crap

Euler, Friday, 18 July 2008 02:01 (twelve years ago) link

as usual I am an idiot

Euler, Friday, 18 July 2008 02:01 (twelve years ago) link

The rhythm guitar playing on the acoustic version of 'Born in the USA' is remarkable.

the pinefox, Friday, 18 July 2008 14:12 (twelve years ago) link

do you mean on the Bridge School version? Or the one on Tracks/Alone In Colts Neck? If the latter, I agree with you. If the former, I'll be back with you soon when I get a copy of that set.

Euler, Friday, 18 July 2008 14:37 (twelve years ago) link

ugh people referring to springsteen as a "frat boy" above. wtf. have not decades of people screaming LISTEN TO THE LYRICS made any headway?

amateurist, Friday, 18 July 2008 14:49 (twelve years ago) link

i fondly recall the Great Springsteen Debates of... i dunno, ca. 2002, 2003? which thread is that?

amateurist, Friday, 18 July 2008 14:49 (twelve years ago) link

ugh people referring to springsteen as a "frat boy" above. wtf. have not decades of people screaming LISTEN TO THE LYRICS made any headway?

I meant his outsized, fist-pumping behaviors in his antham-type songs, and the kind of reaction they inspire and the fans they drew. I love his lyrics. Overall, I much prefer quiet, introverted, contemplative Springsteen to loud, outsized, rock-and-roll Springsteen. That was my point.

Daniel, Esq., Friday, 18 July 2008 14:56 (twelve years ago) link

Euler: I mean the one on Tracks. Never heard any other alternative version. But that one is incredible. So much reverb, so lots of is FX but there's still a percussive quality in the playing which is like an effect in itself. I can be quite a percussive guitar player myself but I don't think I could do that.

It is quite striking how the lyrics are IDENTICAL to the LP version, even down to the little variations at the end.

I was thinking: we all give credit to the Boss for writing that dark version of the song, like it shows the song's true meaning / tone etc. OK, and I love it. But then why didn't he release it that way? Why totally rewrite and rerecord the tune to give it such a different atmosphere? Did he think that was a better way of getting his searing political vision across? (I really like the LP version too, btw, I don't knock it.)

the pinefox, Friday, 18 July 2008 15:05 (twelve years ago) link

Pinefox, if you don't already have a copy of Alone In Colts Neck, you'd probably really enjoy it. It's the Nebraska sessions, but with a few songs that didn't make the original cut, including the version of "Born in the USA" on Tracks---and a killer version of "Downbound Train" that I find terrifying to listen to, for the tone of voice he gets. The original "Pink Cadillac" strikes me as more lewd and thus more effective than the electric one a year or so later. The guitar sound on these cuts remains incredible.

Euler, Friday, 18 July 2008 15:14 (twelve years ago) link

Wow!

the pinefox, Friday, 18 July 2008 18:38 (twelve years ago) link

Never heard of it.

'Downbound Train' (on LP) is a real favourite of mine. Was just listening to 'Pink Cadillac' (the electric 45) tonight.

the pinefox, Friday, 18 July 2008 18:39 (twelve years ago) link

'Downbound Train

-- that's the weak spot on that lp, in my opinion.

amateurist, Friday, 18 July 2008 21:00 (twelve years ago) link

like b-side weak

amateurist, Friday, 18 July 2008 21:01 (twelve years ago) link

Euler: I was talking about that 1986 Bridge School Benefit. A friend of mine long ago had a videotape of it, and what I have I taped from that. He did that version of "Born in the U.S.A." I described above, as well as a version of "Seeds" playing guitar and a tambourine with his foot, and someone from Los Lobos playing accordian. That one's fantastic, too.

Eazy, Friday, 18 July 2008 21:08 (twelve years ago) link

Well, I think 'Downbound Train' would have to be high in my Boss top 10, along with, oooh ...

Racing in the Street
Atlantic City
Tunnel of Love
One Step Up?

something like that. I think the song's riff is marvellous; the one flaw is the odd lassitude of the breakdown / bridge, which virtually collapses, certainly loses most of its sense of rhythm. And I suppose that section (and indeed the whole song) is pure Boss being Boss, Boss-by-numbers, but I like the Boss and these are some high numbers.

the pinefox, Friday, 18 July 2008 21:47 (twelve years ago) link

(shoulda changed that back to TOP 5 - I started to think I couldn't stop at 5)

the pinefox, Friday, 18 July 2008 21:48 (twelve years ago) link

one year passes...

what a depressing song

amateurist, Sunday, 13 September 2009 04:43 (eleven years ago) link

That's a fact.

vulva eyes (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 14 September 2009 15:13 (eleven years ago) link

one year passes...

yes, absolutely in love w/ the last turn of the lyrics at the end.

balls, Saturday, 16 October 2010 19:39 (nine years ago) link

This is certainly an autumn album, isn't it.

raging hetero lifechill (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Saturday, 16 October 2010 20:40 (nine years ago) link

nine years pass...

Was just watching the video for this song last night and was struck by how good Bruce’s acting is in it. I don’t think of him as much of an actor, usually, but man, the way you watch him descending into abysses of self-loathing over the course of the video, and you can read every little nuance and stage of it on his face – it’s beautiful. I like that quick, seemingly genuine smile he gives some rando at the bar, to show you how easily and instinctively he can switch on the charm. And then the way he sort of wakes up and blinks at the world at the very end, like he can’t quite remember who he is or how the hell he got here.

Lily Dale, Thursday, 9 January 2020 01:11 (eight months ago) link

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DZE7OchG3DY

Josh in Chicago, Thursday, 9 January 2020 01:20 (eight months ago) link

Yeah that's why I don't think of him as an actor.

Lily Dale, Thursday, 9 January 2020 01:30 (eight months ago) link

The "Brilliant Disguise" video features some good acting, too.

Josh in Chicago, Thursday, 9 January 2020 01:33 (eight months ago) link

Some days I think "Brilliant Disguise" is his best song.

Josh in Chicago, Thursday, 9 January 2020 01:37 (eight months ago) link

The Brilliant Disguise video is great. As a kid, I was scared of mirrors because I would do this thing where I would lock eyes with my reflection and stare until I didn't recognize myself anymore and it was like a monster was looking out from inside me. When I watched that video, I couldn't believe how perfectly the director had managed to recreate my weird childhood neurosis.

I go back and forth on the song, though. I heard it first on the Greatest Hits album, and there - since I had no other context for it at the time - I always kind of associated it with Human Touch, which came right after it iirc. Later, when I heard it on Tunnel of Love, I liked it just fine and the emotional depth of it came through better. Then I saw the video and was like, "Oh, actually this is amazing." I guess context is everything.

Lily Dale, Thursday, 9 January 2020 02:01 (eight months ago) link

Tunnel of Love is his grandest AND his most intimate album. I'm pleased as hell so many have come around to it or, if they were around at the time, remember how much they loved this bleak album.

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 9 January 2020 02:04 (eight months ago) link

Human Touch was a whopping nearly 5 years later, which I think may be the longest he has ever gone between records. Oh, wait, Tom Joad to The Rising was even longer!

Josh in Chicago, Thursday, 9 January 2020 02:51 (eight months ago) link

I meant it came right after it on the CD, and they sounded similar to me. I didn't know anything about either album at the time.

Lily Dale, Thursday, 9 January 2020 02:56 (eight months ago) link

I should have clarified that I meant "Human Touch" the song, not Human Touch the album.

Lily Dale, Thursday, 9 January 2020 02:57 (eight months ago) link

But yes, Tunnel of Love was a huge surprise to me when I got seriously into Springsteen last year. I first listened to it at three in the morning when I'd been lying awake all night, which was one of those decisions that's probably bad for the psyche but good for Art.

Lily Dale, Thursday, 9 January 2020 03:01 (eight months ago) link

some of my favorite synthesizer presets/parts of the late '90s

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 9 January 2020 03:08 (eight months ago) link


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