20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intimate music.
This is one of Springsteens best albums. It is in the same vein as 'Nebraska' and has echos of 'Devils and Dust' to come. It is supremely chilled out and very relaxing to listen to, his voice perfectly pitched to tell the stories in each song. This album contains such gems as the title track, 'Youngstown', 'Dry lightning' and 'Best wasn't good enough' to end the album...
Published on 24 Feb 2007 by Spider Monkey
8 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars ANOTHER FOLK ALBUM BY THE BOSS`
"The Ghost Of Tom Joad", is possibly the most low key Springsteen release in the last quarter of a century and the album takes "The Boss" back to his folk roots and is really a throw back to the kind of music the likes of Bob Dylan was releasing in the seventies. Overall the album may disappoint the "Born In The U.S.A" fans, but any fan of good music will understand and...
Published on 29 Sep 2000
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intimate music.,
This review is from: The Ghost Of Tom Joad (Audio CD)This is one of Springsteens best albums. It is in the same vein as 'Nebraska' and has echos of 'Devils and Dust' to come. It is supremely chilled out and very relaxing to listen to, his voice perfectly pitched to tell the stories in each song. This album contains such gems as the title track, 'Youngstown', 'Dry lightning' and 'Best wasn't good enough' to end the album on a perfect note. I tend to feel that the album is best listened to in it's entirety to get the full benefit from it though. This is Springsteen doing what he does best, which is telling a beautiful story, backed by great music, simple as that. Don't buy it expecting the Stadium anthems of the 80's, but do expect some of the best music that Bruce has ever put out.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bruce at midnight,
This review is from: The Ghost Of Tom Joad (Audio CD)This is no ordinary Springsteen album. It is remarkable for its arrangements: spare sober, acoustic. Its typical Springsteen for the stories behind the songs; full of American people who try hard to make it, who chase that American dream & meet tragedy on the way. Springsteen makes a case for the people, who are somtimes forced to act illegally without much choice. Here he touches a raw nerve in American society.
Hauntingly beautiful, Spingsteen sings poignantly, without his usual powerful, bombastic sound. Much in line with I'm on fire from Born in the USA. So much the better in my opinion. An album which gets you, without much force, and which leaves a lasting impression.
28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 1995's landmark moment: an album of sparse and tender beauty,
This review is from: The Ghost Of Tom Joad (Audio CD)Bruce Springsteen: rebel soul, rock renegade, the guy from Philly who only ever sang about cars n' girls; his is a legacy tainted by misinformed paradoy and undeserved malign. In the 70s he was already unstoppable; in the 80s he adopted a commercial bent that propelled him into the realms of superstar (& beyond) - by 1995, with a fair wedge stashed down in Asbury Park, Springsteen had made his millions, and he'd grown old. He didn't need to sing about racing the caddy no more, nor about dating Bobby Jean or sippin' beers after the game. Instead he put it all aside, dispensed with the E-Street sound completely, picked up his acoustic guitar, and made an album from the brink of desolation, a subtle Dylannesque masterpiece, laced with simple, lax melancholy and brimming with wealths of experience, nostalgia and knowing. Never self-indulgent, 'Tom Joad' showcases The Boss' woefully overlooked songsmanship - it's the greatest record he's ever made. A stylistic departure from past releases, and then some, this is the sound of a man unafraid to sound his age - this is grown up music. Springsteen has been a crucial mouthpiece for blue-collar America for the last 30 years. In assesing his career, let us hope that the inclement critic will turn here in his final pause: a phenominal legacy, and a totally gorgeous, unrefined, bare-bones folk wonder-work: dripping with honesty, sheer grit and irrepressable subtlety. The soundtrack to your salvation: invest - it'll enrich your life. It certainly has, mine.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliantly depressing.,
This review is from: The Ghost Of Tom Joad (Audio CD)Never been a huge springsteen fan, but bought a couple of albums with a voucher last year, this one and Born in the Usa.
Born in the USA is a classic no doubt, but "the ghost of Tom Joad" is my favourite.
If you ever want to kick back, close your eyes and be taken on a truly saddening journey then this is the album to choose.
My personal favourite is "the line" for its ability to make me want to cry like no other song can.
I am looking forward to listening to some more albums by the same artist, but do not anticipate finding anything of this calibre.
24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Expansion on the world of Nebraska (1982),
This review is from: The Ghost Of Tom Joad (Audio CD)The Ghost of Tom Joad - a reference to the amazing John Ford adaptation of Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath (historian Howard Zinn believes that this film tells a student all they need to know about the great depression)- feels very much like a return to the world of Springsteen's masterpiece Nebraska (1982). The Boss had done the stadium thing (Born in the USA, Live Box Set) & dealt with personal issues regarding love (Tunnel of Love)- there then came a period where he released OK records, Human Touch & Lucky Town (both 1992)- which attempted to go back to Born in the USA, but avoid sounding too much like the E Street band. A lot of artists lose it at some point- & Springsteen's output from Greetings from Asbury Park to Tunnel would still have remained one of the great back catalogues. But people forget that Springsteen is an artist- & so here, spurned on by John Ford's film, several articles and books listed here- he returned to a world he began to depict around Darkness on the Edge of Town. This is where Springsteen expanded from his themes of cars, girls, & romance- songs like The Promised Land, Darkness on the Edge of Town & a key song, The River (1980). Ultimately this lead to the 4-track minimalism of Nebraska- a world of corruption, darkness, and violence- the kind of thing Russell Banks writes about. The Ghost of Tom Joad expands on this minimal world- a major return to form, it offers subtle arrangements from an acoustic/folk/country centre.
These feel like protest songs- Springsteen, the great liberal that he is, both depicts and empathises with the third world people in these songs. Thinking of Tom Joad & the dust bowl-created exploitation (& indifference from banks repossessing homes), it's not hard to see our Western world- or to think of the "economic migrants" so reviled in this country (who are more often than not asylum seekers/refugees). Springsteen, unlike politicians, doesn't forget that people are humans- not numbers. These are bold themes for a middle aged man to deal with- look at how someone like Neil Young railed at Nixon in the 70s, ended up being pro-Reagan/Dubya & Clear Channel!!!
The songs here are all wonderful- listen to those words, take in that poetic world- wonder about the joys of free-market capitalism and the legacies of Reagan-Bush Sr- Clinton. I love all the songs here, from the cinematic title track to the closing My Best Was Never Good Enough- that sees The Boss lapse into comedy with some lines about Forrest Gump ("Stupid is as stupid does and all the rest of that shit"!). Between are some wonderful songs- my favourites include Sinaloa Cowboys, Straight Time (is the title a reference to the 1978 film of the same name?), Across the Border, Dry Lightning & one of Springsteen's finest songs, Youngstown. This reminds me a little of Michael Moore's film Roger & Me (1989) and also of the world in the early part of The Deer Hunter (1979)- though analogies can be found to say the eradication of the mining communities by Thatcher (whose policies were akin to Reagan's) in this country. It's both angry and melancholic- an elegy for erased communities- amazing that the lines regarding Hitler recall some in Manic Street Preachers' The Holy Bible (1994)! The dying factories, the wasteland communities left behind or erased from history, are put into further context with the lines "These mills they built the tanks and bombs that won this country's wars/We sent our sons to Korea and Vietnam/Now we wonder what they're dying for". You think of Iraq- or Bush Sr's insistence that the Vietnam syndrome is dead- which is not true when you consider how wars are covered/embedded/made into acceptable propaganda- rather than receive the censure the Vietnam war did. Youngstown is a bleak song, one that probably tells you everything you need to know about how the working man has been treated by free-market capitalism- "there is no such thing as society" being it's M.O. Add to that, the music is as arresting, moving from acoustic to anthemic, as American Music Club's Everclear & REM's Automatic for the People (both 1991).
The Ghost of Tom Joad is a brilliant album, one that shows an artist back on peak form- which was evident on The Rising (2002)- it's a masterpiece and may very well usurp my Springsteen fave Nebraska in years to come. If you get a chance to hear any of the versions of these songs from Springsteen's tour (some are on The Ghost of Tom Joad single)- do. Hope some of those stripped versions turn up on a future release!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Boss goes back to the roots,
This review is from: The Ghost Of Tom Joad (Audio CD)This album is often forgotten, although the Boss includes tracks in his live shows with the E Street Band. It is thoughtfully composed and is different from the raw rock n' roll for which the Boss is best known.
You can see the great influences on Bruce in sounds and verse better associated with Bob Dylan and Woodie Guthrie and other great folk singers, who talk about the tough lives of the working man in simple survival.
This album, by comparison with other Springsteen work, rarely receives the acclaim that it deserves but should be in everybody's music library. It is bound by all Springsteen's lyrics by the descriptive power and raw detail, which demands that you listen to the greatest singer, songwriter and musician of my lifetime.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars this album made me cry,
This review is from: The Ghost Of Tom Joad (Audio CD)Continuing the themes introduced on Nebraska, this is an incredible recording. Its intimacy is such that you cannot play this for anyone, you just have to listen alone. Like a great novel, you are drawn into this world of nostalgia and regret; there isn't a happy ending, not really, just normal people whom Bruce has snapshot as they pass on their way. The lyrics evoke a sense of the midwest; Viet Nam vets with no home to come back to, steelworkers wondering what went wrong as Reaganomics bite deep, lonely people, lovers separated. If you're feeling a little low, maybe a longing for things that you should have done; buy this, disconnect the 'phone, and listen. Then maybe you'll cry a little too.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterful Storytelling,
By A Customer
This review is from: The Ghost Of Tom Joad (Audio CD)This is music stripped down to the bare essentials. Certainly not one for the party animals - this is music to sit in the dark and reflect on the world to (preferably with a large whisky) as The Boss delivers twelve tales of woe, each one a work of musical beauty, none more so than the title track - It will make you want to read Steinbeck's superb "The Grapes Of Wrath" if you haven't already done so.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Haunting Tom Joad,
This review is from: The Ghost Of Tom Joad (Audio CD)The ghost of Tom Joad is in my view Springstten at his absolute best. It continues in the theme of Nebraska, not the banging anthems but the introspective alter ego of Springsteen. Not all fans of "the boss" will get it at first, but listen again and again, feel the heartache and you will get it. The best of the boss!
5.0 out of 5 stars Bruce,
This review is from: The Ghost Of Tom Joad (MP3 Download)Great album a sounder to Devils and Dust yet 10 years earlier, just sit back put the head phones on and drift away.
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