My Favorite Records:Bruce Springsteen – The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle

This is the ninth part in my series of favorite records.

Yes, I know that I am still in the Bs and that my final list is going to have a lot more than 50 records on it, but what can I say. I keep finding excellent records on my music server.

I remember the first time I saw Bruce Springsteen in 1975. I didn’t know that much about him prior to the concert, but afterwards, I knew I had discovered something special. Almost any of his records could make this list, but I’m goung to pick The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle.

Bruce had a lot of great songs in the bag when he started making records, as evidenced by the fact that this one was released only eight months after his first one, Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J. (also an excellent record). One The Wild, the Innocent, Bruce did a wild, funky, keyboard driven fusion of folk, jazz and rock- and it worked. There are only 7 songs on this record, but most of them are 7+ minutes long, so there’s a lot of music to enjoy.

I’ve often argued with my music buddy the G-Man about the use of horns in a record. Sometimes they absolutely make a song (like most of the ones on this record and some Van Morrison numbers). Sometimes, they just sound like a throw in to hide mediocre songs- like on some of Bill Morrissey’s later records. G-Man seems to like all horns, but I definitely do not. But from the first note of the first song, The E Street Shuffle, you can tell that funky, funky horns add a whole lot to these songs.

Even the mellow songs, like Wild Billy’s Circus Story have some funky horns, and it really adds to the vibe of this record. Much like his first record, these songs sound like (and probably are) songs Bruce wrote about actual friends of his and stuff they did growing up.

An excellent record that belongs in every record collection.

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