Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Bruce Springsteen: How Nebraska Was Born (Two CD Set with booklet)


The sudden rush of sharp, insightful comments on yesterday's Springsteen post heavily favoured Nebraska as one of his greatest accomplishments. This surprised me. It always felt odd that Nebraska was the only Springsteen album I own. I'm usually the guy who likes the rockers on an album and is tempted to skip the ballads but with Springsteen it's the opposite. For instance, when Lucky Town came out, "If I Should Fall Behind" was the track that stuck with me most. While I respect almost everything in the man's oeuvre, it's those songs where the drama isn't turned up to eleven that I return to the most.


Nebraska stripped away most of the soul and R&B fripperies Springsteen had grown famous for and substituted a whisper. Which leaves me a bit curious whether the fans who relate to that Springsteen view Nebraska as an aberration or an apex.


Certainly the number of lavish bootlegs of this era do prove that Springsteen aficionados are anything but indifferent to this aspect of the man.


The How Nebraska Was Born bootleg includes just about every song from this era (including multiple alternate takes), a lavish booklet and a seemingly endless supply of album covers. There's much to love here but as Bruce says, "Love is a dangerous thing".


How Nebraska Was Born (Two CD Set with booklet) is in the comments
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Speaking of comments, they are what keeps this (and many, many other blogs) alive - so please leave a Springsteen-related observation, review, story or even just a simple thank you, if that's your way.

Vilstef added this link to the section of Dave Marsh's Glory Days that covers Nebraska.

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69 comments:

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    THANKS FOR DROPPING IN, PLEASE LEAVE A BRUCE-RELATED COMMENT AS PROOF YOU WERE HERE.





    http://www.mediafire.com/download.php?inagz2jyzy2

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  2. Wow! More Nebraska outtakes! I'm downloading them right now. 2 versions of Johnny 99! I'm anxious to hear if Johnny is going to the "execution line" or the "killing line" in both of these renditions!

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  3. The best Springsteen album - thank you

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  4. I don`t own any Springsteen other than the woody guthrie sessions..i don`t care at all for Bruce`s "rah rah" tunes but these really speak to me..thanks for this..
    sluggo

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  5. I have always liked acoustic Bruce the best. Thanks!!!!

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  6. I was always kinda' indifferent to Bruce....I picked up Nebraska when it was released and was completely knocked out. Nothing he ever did, before or since, hit me with the same force. Still on my all time favorite recordings list. I can't wait to hear both of these outtakes you've posted. Thanks for all you do.

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  7. Thanks for making this collection complete!

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  8. Nebraska is a great album.
    Not really that much different then his other stuff, though it doesn't have the twelve coats of varnish to make it shine like plastic.

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  9. Extraordinary! Thank you so much. Never heard these, even as Nebraska was a teenage fave.

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  10. Thanks for this one!

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  11. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  12. Well, me, I always thought Nebraska was a bit overrated, or at least, not particularly greater than his other albums of the period -- which, mind you, are pretty darn great. I appreciated that he was preserving the folk tradition in the '80s, but I already was hip to the folk tradition in the '80s, so it didn't seem that profound a move to me. And I have absolutely no problem with the BITUSA album (except maybe some of the synths, but that's true of any album of the period) and consider its songs more or less of a piece with these. If anything, I think the album is a bit overly dour. It's possible to be bleak and still have a bit of wry humor showing, which Nebraska barely ever manages, and then only half-heartedly. I know, that's just not what he was up to here, and that's a legitimate artistic choice, I just think the odd chuckle here and there would have given the album more depth and resonance.

    I thought somewhere there were E Street Band rehearsal/demo versions of the Nebraska songs but I don't think I've ever come across them. Anyone know anything about that?

    Well, that's more than I expected to type before coffee, so all I can say beyond that is thanks for this stuff, as usual, Jeffen!
    -Jeffar.

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  13. I'm going to leave a comment before I download - I know I'm going to enjoy this before I hear a note

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  14. For all those either newly discovering or stating their desire for the acoustic side of Bruce seek out the recording of his show from Columbus on the Devils & Dust tour. Simply a stunning show with Bruce solo on multiple instruments exploring his catalog in new ways.

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  15. Wonderful Stuff!!! Bruce never was one to sit on his laurels and Nebraska is his masterpiece

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  16. Being unemployed for the last 9 months and a NJ native this is just what I needed to cheer me up and to remind me that things could always be worse. I hope my 5 year old digs this. Thanks for sharing.
    Cheers.
    Kylis

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  17. Springsteen? Dull and bombastic, with a band behind him. But slimmed down to an acoustic guitar, a harmonica, and a voice,the songs take wings. Thanks for this.


    Howie

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  18. Wow! Thanks, man. Quite a bounty of Bruce. Much appreciated.

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  19. Thanks for posting this!

    You might enjoy this clip --

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mJPloPHGbjc

    -- Bruce covering Suicide in concert. I understand they inspired his approach to Nebraska.

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  20. Thanks much! Bruce rules!

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  21. Thank you sir!b

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  22. Wonderful--thanks. P. Hux

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  23. Thanks so much for sharing this stuff. Brilliant.
    Cheers, JWW (Hove, UK)

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  24. When I was in my early teens I was a huge Springsteen fan. He was one of my first live acts I ever saw. I found Punk Rock when I was about 17 and sold all my Springsteen albums. I held on to Nebraska

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  25. Nebraska is such a good album wich you always can trust in up and downs, like an old friend.

    Rémi

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  26. Look forward to hearing it. thanks. Mike

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  27. Thanks, my favourite Springsteen album by a long long way.

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  28. NEBRASKA is my all time fave record--period. Really dig your blog...thanks for all you do.

    Ro

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  29. For a long time, I didn't really appreciate this album very much, nor the songs on it other than "Atlantic City" and that was only because of a cover I heard of the Reivers doing it. However, I have to say, over the years, the other songs have really grown on me. Thanks for posting this. I always enjoy hearing the outtakes and things that go into the making of great final albums. Great blog, by the way. Music ruined my life too!

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  30. I'm hard-pressed to say why I love this particular album... so I'll just ramble a bit.

    Nebraska is a grainy, black & white movie for the mind's eye.

    Besides the obvious nod to Terrence Malick's "Badlands," I'm also reminded of "In Cold Blood" when I listen, and to the novels of Jim Thompson.

    Bleak and existential but absolutely devoid of maudlinism. Nebraska is one tough act to follow.

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  31. Thank you sir. NEBRASKA is - beside BORN TO RUN my favorite Boss-Album. When it was released first I don't like it very much, but I think I was still too young. Oh, and your blog is very cool.

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  32. Cheers for this (and all the other stuff too)

    Keep up the great work

    Mick

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  33. there's no words . . . only thanks

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  34. Nebraska is so easily my favorite Bruce album. Bought it the day it came out and wore the grooves down to nothing.

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  35. my older brother turned me onto nebraska. it's always been my favourite since then. although the seeger sessions hold a very close second.

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  36. Still my favourite Springsteen timeframe. He was firing in all ways. Thanks for indulging us.

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  37. thanks so much for this springsteen post i was unaware of its existance but glad you knew of it.thanks for sharing

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  38. thanks. I will burn this and give it to my brother

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  39. Bellissimo !!!
    Thank you.

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  40. Thanks so much for these songs. This makes my day, I already told you what I think of Nebraska, this will only add up to the feel I have for this album.

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  41. Nebraska accompains you all your life. Deep. Isn't that enough?
    THanks,

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  42. Wow

    So many comments that I'm juts gonna have to say thanks to you all for giving me a 'reason to believe". Seriously, this was the quality of comments I expected from Nebraska/Springsteen fans and I'm happy as hell it came.

    Here's some reaction to the more specific comments:

    Roky
    Which was it?

    Sluggo
    Yup tha 'rah-rah' can be problematic

    Anon
    "Nothing he ever did, before or since, hit me with the same force" I feelt he same even thoguh I'm growing to like the other stuff.

    John
    To me the greatest difference (glass aside) is the subtletyPer of the singing.

    Perrata 2000
    Such a stark cover, so tells you what you;re in for.

    TPC
    Thanks for coming out in dfence of the catalog! I suppose "reason To Believe" is supposed to be the lighter moment - if not exctly humorous.
    As for "Electric Nebraska" the Springsteen camp admits it exsists but is keeping it well-hid.

    Anon
    Any more details on that Columbus show (name of boot, date etc.)? I'd love to check it out.

    Mike
    It's strange that such a bleak set of songs can be a pick-me-up but they really are. Hope things turn around down in NJ.

    Howie
    "slimmed down to an acoustic guitar, a harmonica, and a voice,the songs take wings."
    Amen

    Anon
    Thanks for the "Suicide tip" - might make it into a later post!

    Anon
    "I found Punk Rock when I was about 17 and sold all my Springsteen albums. I held on to Nebraska" Thanks for another eloquent response!

    Remi
    "Nebraska is such a good album which you always can trust in up and downs, like an old friend." Another amen from me.

    Micheal
    I concurred with all the ramblings, especially, "Bleak and existential but absolutely devoid of maudlinism".

    Thanks again for all your words!

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  43. Bruuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuce Thanks dude.

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  44. Thanks for posting this; I believe I have bits and pieces already, but it will be nice to have a comprehensive set. At the time of its release, Nebraska was a revelation for me, and quickly became my second favourite album after Darkness. Cheers,

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  45. I was never a big fan till first time I saw him in late 84. I was a senior in high school and Johnny 99 made me skip school the next day and buy Nebraska. Great post-thanks!

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  46. Thanks! My favorite Springsteen album. Blown away by it when I heard it back in the 80's.

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  47. I had no idea this even existed - so glad I stumbled across your blog! I got the tip off Totally Fuzzy. This is my favorite Bruce album (I can barely stand his recent stuff).
    Thanks!

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  48. Thanks! I find the older I get, the more I like Springsteen. At 38 I'm still a novice. The only other Springsteen I own is his debut. Until now.

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  49. Thanks man... three thumbs up!!!

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  50. Thanks again! It looks like you have a legend in your audience: P.Hux (June 29) is a legendary power popper and drummer for the doughboys. Just thought I'd share. Here's another: my buddy is no springsteen fan, but a big scorcese fan. I love telling him that DeNiro stole the whole "You talking to me?" bit in Taxi Driver from a springsteen performance in the '70s. Word for Word.
    Word.

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  51. Thanks to all for leaving words!

    fervourcoulee
    Just picked up Darkness - great record!

    Anon
    Even I, as a teacher, might look the other way if someone skipped class to get Nebraska

    Alex
    And to think I was just asking myself "Where's the love?"

    Some Ugly
    I went out and bought this weird box set this week with "Greetings" , "The Wild The Innocent..." and "Darkness.." soi I guess I'm in full Springsteen mode now.

    Anon
    P Hux! I knew that name was familiar - his stuff is great.
    I wish there was footage of Springsteen doing his own "You talkin' to me?" routine

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  52. This great, thank you so much

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  53. thank you, thank you!

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  54. wow - thanks for this great addition to the original album! much appreciated!!

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  55. Simply wonderful--thank you so much. Listening now and totally mesmerized.

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  56. this is a masterpiece

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  57. How Nebraska was born? Nebraska was born to run!! Thanks!!

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  58. Awesome! Thanks!
    www.facebook.com/ukespringsteen

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  59. Wow.

    Recording my next Album like NEBRASKA!

    http://tascam.com/news/display/226/

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  60. Thanks so much for posting this! Can't get enough of the great material from Bruce's best record....

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  61. "Which leaves me a bit curious whether the fans who relate to that Springsteen view Nebraska as an aberration or an apex."

    I stumbled across this after finishing a blog post about my thoughts on where it sits in his catalogue. It's just my response, not gospel truth, but check it out if your interested.

    Love the blog title by the way!

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  62. great great great. My favourite Bruce album. THANKYOU!!! x

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  63. The link is down.... any chance for a new one?????

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