Monday, June 28, 2010

Bruce Springsteen: Alone in Colts Neck


Link was taken down due to leeching - three comments, 53 downloads - and then restored thanks to some good souls who left some words behind rather than just taking.


Interviewer: If push come to shove, what's the best album of all time?

Margo Timmins (Cowboy Junkies): There's no push, there's no shove - it's Bruce Springsteen's
While determining the canon of rock n' roll involves a lot more push and shove, Nebraska belongs on that list of great works. Nebraska was a fatal blow to the critical theory that bands must develop by adopting an ever-more-bloated sound (a.k.a. The Sgt Pepper Imperative), it's middle-finger to the music industry's ideal of each album selling more than the last plus it's one of the bleakest critiques of American exceptionalism ever put to tape. In short, it's a sorta like a punk rock album disguised as a set of folk songs. If you've played the damn thing as many time as I have, you'll revel in this bootleg of tracks recorded in and around the same time and place. Some tracks are fragments, other were re-recorded for later albums but all have the spooky intensity that makes Nebraska both a push and a shove.

Note: this version of "Alone in Colts Neck" contains
no songs from the album, Nebraska, even "unvarnished ones".

Alone in Colt's Neck link is in the comments

Speaking of comments, please leave one about Nebraska, it's the decent thing to do.


Support the artist!






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  2. Cavorting with NudistsJune 28, 2010 at 9:08 AM

    A lot of people whose musical tastes generally accord with mine HATE HATE HATE anything Springsteen with an unrelenting fury. My comment is: If you aren't awed by Nebraska, you can kiss my ass.

  3. His last great record. Not the dumbed down pop of Born In the USA.

  4. The only thing I knew as a kid was the Born in the USA stuff, and that got so overplayed I never had a desire to hear anything else. The fact that now I know he is a huge fan of Suicide makes me think I had him all wrong..

  5. Nebraska - a spine-tingling awesome record. Definitely one of my favourite Springsteen albums of all time. Sorry again re the leechers. Would have made interesting listening!

  6. There are three albums in my collection I listen to when I feel dark and desolate because they exactly sound like I feel at those moments.
    One is Whiskey for the Holy Ghost by Mark Lanegan. One is The Boatsman's Call from Nick Cave and the third is Nebraska.
    I kinda dislike both of Springsteen's "Born" albums (in the USA / To run), but Nebraska is a different story.
    It's haunting, and Springsteen, only armed with harmonica and strings, howls into a dark moonless deserted prairie, over lost highways, his music sounds like coming out of the speakers in the twisted doors of a rusty car wreck alongside the road, and there's no way to light a candle because the wind will blow it out immediately.
    Where Lanegan's album is contemplating and Cave's almost soothing Nebraska is the unforgiving one. And that makes it the most beautiful and intense album Springsteen has ever made IMHO.
    Shame for the leechers.

  7. A lot of people my age (42) try to downplay Springsteen's body of work based off their being overloaded by "Born In The USA", which virtually everyone that didn't listen to the album and listen to the lyrics misunderstood anyway. When I sit down with friends of mine and throw on "Nebraska", it's like seeing a light come on in their eyes, which is way cool. People can argue with me about my love of "The Wild, The Innocent ..." and "Magic", but no one I've turned on to "Nebraska" has done anything but buy a copy pronto. It flat-out changed my life.

    Totally off-point - it says the file is set to private. Is that just me? ;->

  8. Second Jim's comments... Growing up in the 80's, I was convinced BITUSA was the worse fucking song I'd ever heard and the hype was enough to make me dismiss (wrongly) Springsteen's entire body of work in 1985.

    Flash forward two decades later and I'm grudgingly giving Nebraska a listen. And then I'm going back and picking up the first few discs. And now Springsteen's not even a guilty pleasure, he's just a pleasure, and I will defend him to any hipster, regardless of how much said hipster resembles me twenty years ago!

  9. I am not familiar with Nebraska, but these home recordings are intensely personal and hauntingly beautiful. The small thematic fragments are a real treat and lend an insight into the songwriting process. It reminds me a (slight) bit of the home recordings that I've done.

  10. Bruce can be too sincere, no? Is it the simple rhymes? Unlike Dylan, Springsteen makes me think of Sacvan Bercovich's complaint about American artists who criticize betrayals of the "dream" without seeing a flaw in the very idea of the "dream." Always the breakdown is temporary; "there's a man of the people sayin' keep hope alive / We got fuel to burn / We got roads to drive."

    --and that's offered without even a chance to hear the music.



  11. I've been playing Bruce quite often lately and this should continue to scratch that itch. Nebraska? I remeber when it came out, with little fanfare. Took it home and was hooked from the start. Not my favorite (Darkness was and is my key BS work), but number two. Thanks.

  12. CWN
    Yeah at one point Springsteen hate was in fashion (tho less so nowadays) but Nebraska is untouchable regardless of fashion.

    I listened to the the entirety of BITUSA for the first time the other night and it sounded pretty good but it's no Nebraska.

    A Balsam
    Yeah BIIUSA did distort things a bit and yeah Springsteen's always loved him some good bands (though I didn't know about the Suicide thing...)

    The spine-tingling is back - sorry "you got caught on the wrong side of that line".

    So well-put, thank you. (O should go check out that Lannegan album now...)
    I keep thinking someday everything's gonna click into place and I'm gonnna like the rest of the Springsteen catalog the way I love Nebraska but it hasn't happened yet.

    I always though I was in a small minority by believing that Nebraska is far-and-away the best Springsteen album - perhaps I've been wrong...

    P.S I restored the link thanks to commnenters like yourself.

    I know what you mean about hipsters that bear a sneaking resemblance to someone you might've once been!
    I'm going to try some more Springsteen again and see if I can fins a point of entry.

    M Turner
    Springtseen's song-writing is never better than this period - I think every song-writer could learn from these recordings.

    Jbull 49
    Sharp analysis of some of the things that keep me from being a Springsteen fanatic, while making me more in awe of how he pulled it all together for this album.
    Hey, the new link has been made possible because of commenters like you!

  13. Anon
    Maybe I'll try "Darkness" again. I haven't listened to it since I was twelve - I may not have been ready yet...

  14. i grew up in Philadelphia in the late 70's, where Springsteen was God.....i never got it tho, he always seemed way too melodramatic....anyway, when I moved out to LA in late '81, I had the "Nebraska" cassette, along with Eno's "Another Green World" and I will always remember driving across the plains of Texas and Oklahoma listening to "Nebraska" always has a romantic spot in my memory, but I still BARELY can listen or appreciate anything else he's ever done.....thanks much for the upload!!! .Jim

  15. Thanks. Never was a Springsteen fan beyond Nebraska (which was brilliant), actually to the point of flat out disliking him entirely. I'm looking forward to this, though. Thanks for posting this and opening up some minds.

  16. state trooper...outstanding

  17. So unlike many of the other commenters (sp?) I have spent most of my music listening life under Bruce's spell. Could be from seeing him first on that Darkness Tour and then following his Artistic changes over the years. I've loved the way the Nebraska songs have been reimagined over the years including the ZZTop blues boogie arrangement on the WOAD tour of Reason to Believe. Lots of great interpretations by other Artists are available including the inimitable Johnny Cash.

  18. There are no mis-steps at all on Nebraska. "Used Cars" is my favorite. Heartbreaking, direct, angry and not at all sentimental.

  19. Nebraska is the main reason I like Springsteen at all. Most of his stuff sounds like he's either trying too hard or not enough. He gets it just right on Nebraska, and the rough, semi-finished textures of the songs and the mournful, things fall apart groove of the songs just gets me!

  20. The beauty of Nebraska is in its simplicity, and that simplicity leaves no room for self-indulgence.

  21. "Nebraska" - bleak, uncompromising, prophetic, essential.

  22. Dave Marsh on the recording of Nebraska, start at page 340.

  23. Cool! Thanks for reconsidering and reposting this gem. Will listen and come back with feedback. Thank you for sharing, it IS appreciated!

  24. "Nebraska" is one of the few albums that crossed many genres in style and substance and I love every minute of it.
    A quickly added note. "Badlands" is a great tribute LP to "Nebraska". If you have the time and interest and love "Nebraska" as much as I do, "Badlands" does not disappoint.

  25. Thanks for posting this. I've never heard these recordings before. I grabbed it this morning just before I left my place for the day. Leeches literally suck!

  26. well, I'd acknowledge Nebraska's is a great album. I really never listen to it nowadays, though. It can feel very bleak and depressing, and as I get older I'll go for more uplifting stuff every time.
    Thanks for making me realise this!

  27. Springsteen has long been dismissed by people who tired of hearing the same handful of songs played on the radio and never delved into the albums as a result. There is a great deal of diversity and intensity throughout his catalog, even in his simplest translations, whether that comes through his poppier manifestations or through the brilliantly stripped back folk of Nebraska. I have found something good and beautiful and right in everything he's done, in spite of the dodgy moments here and there. But I would think we can all agree that Nebraska was a life-changer from beginning to end...I can't wait to give these demos a full listen. Thanks for the brilliant posts...

  28. Hi. This should be a treasure! I'm going open water swimming in three hours for the first time. Thanks again.

  29. ..Wow! Really beautiful songs! In addition to what I said earlier about me disliking the "Born" albums: *this* rendition of Born in the USA gives the song the quality it really needs. It gave me goosebumps.

    Where most people go wrong in the well known version of the song is the upbeat flag-waving sound of the band. It's to much, Springsteen's screams about wht's fundamentally wrong in the USA is covered in an almost too postitive sounding melody.
    Ona can almost hear a marching band pumping out this tune while happily performing it during let's say 4th of July without really knowing what the song is about.

    Maybe i should add I'm not an American.

  30. Never thought I would see Springsteen posted here but a real nice surprise! Have not heard these before but looking forward to listening. Thanks!!

  31. Jim
    I do appreciate other Springsteen but it is amazing that Nebraska is in my top five albums of all time and yet no other album of his would make my top 100.
    P.S. I can just imagine how good that album sounded driving across Texas.

    Hopefully we did open up some minds, thoguh I'm gathering that a lot of readers here already were Nebraska-philes.

    Anon I
    True and Margo Timmins would agree.

    Anon II
    Glad to hear from someone who likes all the man's work - and speaking of live performance I think you'll enjoy tomorrow's post.

    Big Glue
    Hell even the outtakes reveal few mis-steps - what a period in his life!

    The idea that he got it just right on this album is one I totally agree with.
    Thanks for the link!

    Anon III
    Yup no self-indulgence at all in this phase.


    Thanks for leaving some good words.

    Anon IV
    I only know Cash's "I'm On Fire" from Badlands but now I have to go and listen to the rest of it.

    I try to think in terms of "leeching" instead of "leechers" it's a subtle distinction but it helps me "hate the sin but love the sinner".
    Hopefully I gave you some new listening this morning.

    Anon V
    It's true bleakness need to be measured - an overdose can really throw you off.

    Anon VI
    Commnets as well-expressed as this "I have found something good and beautiful and right in everything he's done, in spite of the dodgy moments here and there. But I would think we can all agree that Nebraska was a life-changer..." keep me going - thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    Hope the swimming went well!

    I can agree with some of that, especially as the album came draped in an American flag. Maybe there was a reason Reagan could mis-use it.

    Phil in NJ
    It's nice to have our choices here surprise - glad to hear it wasn't one of those nasty surprises!

  32. I like the Margo Timmins quote. It's definitely on my short-list of all time greatest LPs. Thanks. W.

  33. Springsteen always got on my nerves for some reason that I've been told is totally unjustified and maybe irrational. But every now and then he'll write something that I really love. Sometimes early on when he's kind of in Bob Dylan ripoff mode, scattered other songs.
    I haven't listened to Nebraska, but maybe this will pique my interest.

    Anyway, thanks for everything

  34. Thanks! Nebraska is not one of my favorites, but I still enjoy hearing a few of the songs when he performs them these days. My favorite album is still "The Wild & The Innocent" I sometimes forget to say thanks for a post, but I try to go back and do so later. Don't let the leechers "Ruin your life"!!!

  35. Anon
    I read it once years ago and never forgot it (though that is a bit of a paraphrase).

    hope we got you to some Springsteen re-appraising!

    Thanks for your good words and the reminder to check out some non-Nebraska stuff!

  36. Jasper - hey man, get out of my record collection...I was one of those kids who dissed the Born in the USA and never really gave it OR bruce a chance ...then several years ago a friend hooked me up with Nebraska - I have seen the error of my ways and am reborn, hallelujah! Thanks for these special Bruce posts!!!

  37. I'm not a great fan of Springsteen's more bombastic offerings, but "Nebraska" now that's a whole different matter. Thanks for uploading this.

  38. Wow.....thanks for all the Springsteen!

  39. I've been a fan of Bruce since I was a kid - and this ranks as his best. I'm very sentimental about Born To Run since it was what made me sit up and go "wow" hearing it for the first time as a kid (and stirred my interest in music in general), but Nebraska is the real gut and soul of America. Thanks for posting!

  40. my god. i've been looking for this forever! just doesn't get much better than Nebraska. thanks! ...always good.

  41. Alex
    It's amazing how many of us who grew up in the 80's need to be schooled on Springsteen.

    Nebraska was a great point of entry for me but now I'm learning to dig the other stuff.

    "Nebraska is the real gut and soul of America"

  42. I grew up listening to Springsteen so I was always fond of him but it was not until I relistened to Nebraska in college that I realized how amazing an album it is. Looking forward to listening to the demos.

  43. After growing up in the NY/NJ area in the late 70's-80's, we were bombarded with the Boss, I had no reason at all to even buy his LP's as every other song on the Rock staions (WNEW, WPLJ, WAPP) was Bruce. But a review in Creem mag, made me take this plunge into Nebraska. Glad I did. Made me reassess his catalog and his place in the rock world.

  44. Great album, looking forward to the demos. Love the Nebraska version of Born In The USA, can't believe they decided it would be better as a full band song. Although commercially they were right, and it created a dark, misunderstood (not least by Reagan) pop masterpiece.

    Thanks for these!

  45. Just found this Springsteen stuff today and want to thank you. I remember buying "Greetings.." my first year in college and thinking that this was it. Must have worn out at least three copies of the LP and was subject to constant ridicule..."Is this the only record you own, man?" After seeing him in Cleveland right after "The Wild..." was released I found that I was no longer alone. I loved "Bron to Run", but kind of missed the Bruce of the first two albums. Then came "Darkness..." and "The River", and it was impossible to stop listening. "Nebraska" was the final spike that formed a life long bond. This is the music of my life.

  46. Justin/Anon/A/Anon 2
    Nebraska is great point of entry for the rest of us.

  47. Great stuff that you have on this website! Only other thing that I thought you might have but I didn't find were recordings by Mojo Nixon.
    Thanks for the opportunity to preview all of this great music...

  48. "Nebraska" was one of the truly great recordings of all time, IMO. And AICN - woah - *that's* what BITUSA was supposed to sound like? Holy crap, if people knew that, they would (finally!) understand what the damn song was about in the first place.

    Amazing stuff. To be treasured. If he did an Unplugged style small venu tour performing this, I'd pay any amount to see it.

  49. I get nervous about commenting because I think people will think I'm stupid. And I like Springsteen's fast ones the best!


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