You know something, I'm not even that big a Springsteen fan: I've heard Born to Run and Born in the USA and Tunnel of Love and I even own a few cassettes and vinyl LPs (including the 5 lp Live '75-'85) but the truth is I don't much listen to them. They're 'good' but I simply don't connect with them the way most other fans do.
... Not so We Shall Overcome.
Misleadingly, many people are referring to this album as being in the same vain as "Nebraska" (1982), "The Ghost of Tom Joad" (1995) and Devils & Dust" (2005).
It's not, not even close. Sure, it's a 'folk' album but 'folk', like most music genres (or book genres for that matter), covers a lot of ground. If you don't believe me go into Starbucks next time and simply ask for "A coffee, please" and see how far it gets you!
The above three mentioned albums are all very low key, subdued somber affairs. Like knocking back a stiff whiskey whilst brooding at home on your own.
WE SHALL OVERCOME, however, is an old-fashioned foot-stomping, thigh-slapping New Year's street party.
It's a raw and rumbustious, rough and ready sprint across the sprawling landscape of Americana.
And the best of it? All involved sing and play not only like they're selling their souls to the devil, but are having a damn fine time while doing it!
There's almost a revelatory feel to the whole recording, like you get the sense that Springsteen has finally arrived at where he's always been trying to get to; that this is what he's ALWAYS wanted to do, only he just didn't consciously know it: gone are the endless rehersals and rerecordings and fine-tunings of so many of his studio albums. This, instead, is music on the hop - music being MADE, right there, live! - and we're all of us the better for it.
The Boss? Hell, on this recording he's a circus Ringmaster kicking up a ruckus!