The Ties That Bind

On the long flight back from LHR to DTW, I finally saw the movie ‘Blinded By the Light‘. Very cute movie about a young Pakistani boy being raised in England and struggling over all the normal teenage angst, but amidst a fairly hostile anti-immigrant culture and a declining economic climate. He discovers Bruce Springsteen and it gives him courage and hope and confidence to pursue his dream of writing. Anyway, good movie. Sort of embarrassing though—a grown ass man, crying over a movie. In an airplane no less. But it’s the Boss. Some of me in those stories and I cry easily. It was dark and I was tucked in my business class cocoon.

Yesterday was a great day for a pub crawl. I met some of our crew in Ohio City. We started at Town Hall and had a nice lunch. Mike, Zach, Kristen, Alex and Suzanne. Small but formidable bunch. After lunch, we went over to Nano Brew, one of my usuals and then on to Great Lakes Brewing which has a beautiful old downstairs bar. I will be back there. We finished up at Market Garden Brewery. Everyone had places to be later so we cut it short. Good holiday cheer and good to see everyone. I headed home and made a nice corn chowder for dinner.

Sunday I put in a pretty long day at the home office—working on Clinic business. Trying to stay ahead of the planning. But I had nice easy dinner of cheeses and smoked salmon. Got in a couple of decent long walks, but otherwise no real news of note.

Last night while cooking the chowder with leeks and potatoes, I listened to all four sides of ‘The River’. One of my all time favorites. It’s a diverse album with all the classic early Boss styles. So I took some time to put down some of the lyrics from this album along with some images from that time period. This was truly one of his best albums. It came out in 1980 while I was till in high school and I remember listening to ‘Hungry Heart‘ on the radio. At this time, I was aware of Bruce but had not yet fully realized the depth of his music. I saw him for the first time a few years later, probably around 84 or so, in LA. From that moment on, we were connected.

The River has a mix of silly and sad; deep and shallow; songs about the hardness of life at times but also the joy of living. In an interview about the album he said

“Rock and roll has always been this joy, this certain happiness that is in its way the most beautiful thing in life. But rock is also about hardness and coldness and being alone … I finally got to the place where I realized life had paradoxes, a lot of them, and you’ve got to live with them.”

He eventually released 20 songs on the double-album after recording 50. Imagine that. Writing and recording 50 songs over a couple of year period.

‘Independence Day’ is an amazing song about Bruce’s complicated relationship with his father. I listened a lot to ‘Out in The Street‘ when I was on the ship. Well, the whole cassette actually. I would crawl into my pit after watch and put the headphones in and dream I was anywhere but on that ship in the middle of the ocean with 400 other dudes.

These are not complete lyrics–just snippets from each song on the album. Some masterfully powerful and insightful stuff here. One more interesting thing. Bruce wrote a good bit about cars and drag racing, but he himself did not even get a license until he was in his 20’s. Back in those days, young men often had a strong sense of identity tied to cars and so Bruce wrote about that, but without the first hand knowledge as a driver.

I listened to the vinyl, all 4 sides, in order and then listened through one more time. Nice night.

The Ties That Bind.
You sit and wonder just who’s gonna stop the rain
Who’ll ease the sadness, who’s gonna quiet the pain
It’s a long dark highway and a thin white line
Connecting baby, your heart to mine
We’re runnin’ now but darlin’ we will stand in time
To face the ties that bind
The ties that bind
Now you can’t break the ties that bind
You can’t forsake the ties that bind

Sherry Darling
Your Mamma’s yapping in the back seat
Tell her to push over and move them big feet
Every Monday morning I gotta drive her down to the unemployment agency
Well this morning I ain’t fighting tell her I give up
Tell her she wins if she’ll just shut up
But it’s the last time that she’s gonna be ridin’ with me

You can tell her there’s a hot sun beatin’ on the black top
She keeps talkin’ she’ll be walkin’ that last block
She can take a subway back to the ghetto tonight
Well I got some beer and the highway’s free
And I got you, and baby you’ve got me
Hey, hey, hey what you say Sherry Darlin’

Jackson Cage
In the Jackson Cage
Down in the Jackson Cage
You can try with all your might
But you’re reminded every night
That you been judged and handed life
Down in the Jackson Cage

Baby there’s nights when I dream of a better world
But I wake up so downhearted girl
I see you feeling so tired and confused
I wonder what it’s worth to me or you
Just waiting to see some sun
Never knowing if that day will ever come
Left alone standing out on the street
‘Til you become the hand that turns the key down in

Two Hearts
Sometimes it might seem like it was planned
For you to roam empty-hearted through this land
Though the world turns you hard and cold
There’s one thing mister, that I know
That’s if you think your heart is stone
And that you’re rough enough to whip this world alone
Alone buddy there ain’t no peace of mind
That’s why I’ll keep searching ’til I find my special one

Two hearts are better than one
Two hearts girl get the job done
Two hearts are better than one

Independence Day
Well Papa go to bed now, it’s getting late
Nothing we can say is gonna change anything now
I’ll be leaving in the morning from St. Mary’s Gate
We wouldn’t change this thing even if we could somehow
‘Cause the darkness of this house has got the best of us
There’s a darkness in this town that’s got us too
But they can’t touch me now and you can’t touch me now
They ain’t gonna do to me what I watched them do to you

So say goodbye, it’s Independence Day
It’s Independence Day all down the line
Just say goodbye, it’s Independence Day
It’s Independence Day this time

Now I don’t know what it always was with us
We chose the words and, yeah, we drew the lines
There was just no way this house could hold the two of us
I guess that we were just too much of the same kind

Hungry Heart
Got a wife and kids in Baltimore, Jack
I went out for a ride and I never went back
Like a river that don’t know where it’s flowing
I took a wrong turn and I just kept going

Everybody’s got a hungry heart
Everybody’s got a hungry heart
Lay down your money and you play your part
Everybody’s got a hu-hu-hungry heart

I met her in a Kingstown bar
We fell in love I knew it had to end
We took what we had and we ripped it apart
Now here I am down in Kingstown again

Everybody’s got a hungry heart
Everybody’s got a hungry heart
Lay down your money and you play your part
Everybody’s got a hu-hu-hungry heart

Out in the Street

Put on your best dress baby
And darlin’, fix your hair up right
‘Cause there’s a party, honey
Way down beneath the neon lights
All day you’ve been working that hard line
Now tonight you’re gonna have a good time

I work five days a week girl
Loading crates down on the dock
I take my hard earned money
And meet my girl down on the block
And Monday when the foreman calls time
I’ve already got Friday on my mind

When that whistle blows
Girl, I’m down the street
I’m home, I’m out of my work clothes

When I’m out in the street
I walk the way I want to walk
When I’m out in the street
I talk the way I want to talk
When I’m out in the street
When I’m out in the street

Crush on You
Sometimes I spot a little stranger standing ‘cross the room
My brain takes a vacation just to give my heart more room
For one kiss, darling I swear everything I would give
‘Cause you’re a walking, talking reason to live

Ooh, ooh, I gotta crush on you
Ooh, ooh, I gotta crush on you
Ooh, ooh, I gotta crush on you tonight

Well now she might be the talk of high society
She’s probably got a lousy personality
She might be a heiress to Rockefeller
She might be a waitress or a bank teller

She makes the Venus de Milo look like she’s got no style
She make Sheena of the Jungle look meek and mild
I need a quick shot, doc, knock me off my feet
‘Cause I’ll be minding my own business walking down the street, watch out

You Can Look, But You’d Better Not Touch
Yesterday I went shopping buddy down to the mall
Looking for something pretty I could hang on my wall
I knocked over a lamp before it hit the floor I caught it
A salesman turned around said, boy, you break that thing you bought it

You can look but you better not touch boy
You can look but you better not touch
Mess around and you’ll end up in dutch boy
You can look but you better not,
no you better not,
no you better not touch

Well I came home from work and I switched on channel five
There was a pretty little girly lookin’ straight into my eyes
Well I watched as she wiggled back and forth across the screen
She didn’t get me excited she just made me feel mean

You can look but you better not touch boy
You can look but you better not touch
Mess around and you’ll end up in dutch boy
You can look but you better not,
no you better not,no you better not touch

I Wanna Marry You
Now honey, I don’t want to clip your wings
But a time comes when two people should think of these things
Having a home and a family
Facing up to their responsibilities

They say in the end true love prevails
But in the end true love can’t be no fairytale
To say I’ll make your dreams come true would be wrong
But maybe, darlin’, I could help them along

Little girl, I want to marry you
Oh yeah, little girl, I want to marry you
Yes I do
Little girl, I want to marry you

My daddy said right before he died
That true, true love was just a lie
He went to his grave a broken heart
An unfulfilled life, makes a man hard

Oh, darlin’
There’s something happy and there’s something sad
‘Bout wanting somebody, oh so bad,
I wear my love darlin’, without shame
I’d be proud if you would wear my name

The River
I come from down in the valley
Where mister when you’re young
They bring you up to do
like your daddy done
Me and Mary we met in high school
When she was just seventeen
We’d ride out of this valley
down to where the fields were green

We’d go down to the river
And into the river we’d dive
Oh down to the river we’d ride

Then I got Mary pregnant
And man that was all she wrote
And for my nineteenth birthday
I got a union card and a wedding coat
We went down to the courthouse
And the judge put it all to rest
No wedding day smiles no walk down the aisle
No flowers no wedding dress

We’d go down to the river
And into the river we’d dive
Oh down to the river we’d ride

I remember us riding in my brother’s car
Her body tan and wet down at the reservoir
At night on them banks I’d lie awake
And pull her close just to feel each breath she’d take
Now those memories come back to haunt me
They haunt me like a curse
Is a dream a lie if it don’t come true
Or is it something worse

That sends me down to the river
Though I know the river is dry

Point Blank
Do you still say your prayers little darlin
Do you go to bed at night
Prayin’ that tomorrow,
everything will be alright
But tomorrow’s fall in number
In number one by one
You wake up and you’re dying
You don’t even know what from

Well they shot you point blank
You been shot in the back
Baby point blank
you been fooled this time
Little girl that’s a fact
Right between the eyes,
baby, point blank
Right between the pretty lies that they tell
Little girl you fell

You grew up where young girls they grow up fast
You took what you were handed and left behind what was asked
But what they asked baby wasn’t right
You didn’t have to live that life

I was gonna be your Romeo you were gonna be my Juliet
These days you don’t wait on Romeos
You wait on that welfare check
And on all the pretty things that you can’t ever have
And on all the promises

Once I dreamed we were together again
Baby you and me
Back home in those old clubs, the way we used to be
We were standin’ at the bar
 It was hard to hear
The band was playin’ loud and you were shoutin’ somethin’ in my ear
You pulled my jacket off and as the drummer counted four
You grabbed my hand and pulled me out on the floor
You just stood there and held me,
then you started dancin’ slow
And as I pulled you tighter I swore I’d never let you go

Cadillac Ranch
here she sits buddy just a-gleaming in the sun,
There to greet a working man when his day is done
I’m gonna pack my pa and I’m gonna pack my aunt,
I’m gonna take them down to the Cadillac ranch.

El Dorado fins, whitewalls and skirts;
Rides just like a little bit of heaven here on earth.
When i die, buddy, throw my body in the back,
Take me to the junkyard in my Cadillac.

Cadillac, Cadillac,
Long and dark, shiny and black
Open up your engines let `em roar
Tearing up the highway like a big old dinosaur

James dean in a mercury `49
Junior Johnson runnin’ in the woods of Caroline
Even Burt Reynolds in a black trans am
Are gonna meet me down at the Cadillac ranch

Hey little girlie in the blue jeans so tight
Drivin’ all alone in a Colorado night
You’re my last love, baby, you’re my last chance
Don’t let `em take me down to the Cadillac ranch

Stolen Car
I met a little girl and I settled down
In a little house on out on the edge of town
We got married, swore we’d never part
Then little by little we drifted from each other’s hearts

At first I thought it was just restlessness
That it’d fade as time went by, and our love would heal
In the end it was something more, I guess
Tore us apart and made us real

I’m driving a stolen car
Down on Eldridge Avenue
Each night I wait to get caught
But I never do

She asked if I remembered the letters I wrote
When our love was young and bold
She said last night she read those letters
And they made her feel one hundred years old


Hey Hey, little dolly with the blue jeans on
I want to ramrod with you honey,’til half-past dawn
Let your hair down mama and pick up this beat
Come on and meet me tonight down on Bluebird Street
I’ve been working all week, I’m up to my neck in heck
Come Saturday night I let my ramrod rock

She’s a hot stepping hemi with a four on the floor
She’s a roadrunner engine in a thirty-two Ford
Late at night when I’m dead on the line
I swear I think of your pretty face when I let her unwind
Well look over yonder see them city lights
Yeah, come on little dolly ‘n’ go ramroddin’ tonight

The Price You Pay
You make up your mind,
you choose the chance you take
You ride to where the highway ends
and the desert breaks
Out on through an open road
you ride until the day 
You learn to sleep at night
with the price you pay

Now with their hands held high,
they reached out for the open skies
And then with their last breath
They built the roads they would ride to their deaths
Driving on through the night
unable to break away
From the restless pull of the price you pay

Oh, the price you pay,
oh, the price you pay
Now you can’t walk away from the price you pay

Now they’ve come so far
and they’ve waited so long
Just to end up caught in a dream
where everything goes wrong
Where the dark of night
holds back the light of the day
And you gotta stand and fight
for the price you pay

Oh, the price you pay,
oh, the price you pay
Now you can’t walk away
from the price you pay

Little girl down on the strand
With that pretty little baby in your hands
Do you remember the story of the Promised land
How he crossed the desert sands
And could not enter the Chosen Land
On the banks of the river he stayed
To face the price you pay

So let the games start
You better run you little wild heart
You can run through all the nights and all the days
But just across the county line
A stranger passin’ through put up a sign
That counts so many fallen away 
To the price you pay,

Oh, the price you pay,
oh, the price you pay
Now you can’t walk away
from the price you pay

Drive All Night
When I lost you honey sometimes
I think I lost my guts too
And I wish God would send me a word
Send me something I’m afraid

Lying in the heat of the night
like prisoners all our lives
I get shivers down my spine
and all I want to do is hold you tight

Baby, baby, baby,
I swear I’ll drive all night again,
just to buy you some shoes
And to taste your tender charms
And I just want to sleep tonight again in your arms

Oh yeah, oh yeah

Tonight there’s fallen angels
and they’re waiting for us down in the street
Tonight there’s calling strangers
Hear them crying in defeat

Let them go, let them go, let them go
Do their dances of the dead, let’em go right ahead,
 You just dry your eyes, and
c’mon, c’mon, c’mon, c’mon
Let’s go to bed, baby, baby, baby

I swear I’ll drive all night again
just to buy you some shoes
nd to taste your tender charms
And I just want to sleep tonight again
in your arms
Oh yeah, oh yeah

Wreck On The Highway
Last night I was out driving
Coming home at the end of the working day
I was riding alone through the drizzling rain
On a deserted stretch of a county two-lane
When I came upon a wreck on the highway

There was blood and glass all over
And there was nobody there but me
As the rain tumbled down hard and cold
I seen a young man lying by the side of the road
He cried, “Mister, won’t you help me please?”

An ambulance finally came and took him to Riverside
I watched as they drove him away
And I thought of a girlfriend or a young wife
And a state trooper knocking in the middle of the night
To say your baby died in a wreck on the highway

Sometimes I sit up in the darkness
And I watch my baby as she sleeps
Then I climb in bed and I hold her tight
I just lay there awake in the middle of the night
Thinking ’bout the wreck on the highway


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