'Cause Tramps Like Us... • Faulkner Group
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‘Cause Tramps Like Us…

As many of you know, I love story. My love for music grew out of that love for story. I loved rock. I grew up in arguably the richest of rock era windows. The combination of a love for story and rock and roll, combined with a searching heart and soul, well, naturally Bruce reeled me in. My first introduction was his most epic, Born to Run. The single and the album changed me as a young person. It fed my soul with story and did so to music that was rock, but different.

Darkness on the Edge of Town sealed the deal. I confess it was weird. I was a suburban kid who grew up on the mean streets of Bellevue, Washington, albeit LONG before Bellevue became the home of Bill Gates and extreme opulence. Regardless, Bruce resonated with my wanderlust soul. He told stories and they connected. I wanted to be like that kid. I loved his stories of rebellion, racing in the streets and the tension that existed between his “establishment” parents and his passion that led him to his vehicle for freedom from the existence to living his dream. Through Thunder Road, Bruce shouts his chosen path to freedom…

“well I got this guitar and I learned how to make it talk…”

I played Born to Run, the song and the album over and over. I grew up in that rich era of vinyl, album covers and lyric liners. You played the record, read the lyric sheet and sang along as if… It was magic. I was moved. My tough guy persona was part being a Faulkner and part wanting to be like a kid who knew his way around the streets of Jersey. Hell, I didn’t even know my way around the streets of Seattle!

Like most AM radio teenagers from my era, we did not hear many albums, we just heard singles. If we really loved a single or an artist, then you’d save up or beg & borrow from your folks for a few bucks to buy the vinyl. Bruce’s early stuff was not as commercially successful as Born To Run. It set the stage and all that followed benefited from BTR and its instant rock classic status, even his lesser (in my opinion) period that included The River and Born In The USA were huge successes because Bruce had become The Boss.

Coming into national musical relevance in the early 70’s, Bruce went even deep down the road of non-conformity. In 1971, introduced by a former girlfriend and while looking for additional components to complete his unique approach to rock, he came across this imposing 6’5” black man who blew a unique and amazing sax sound. Clarence Clemons and Bruce discovered each other and “fell in love” (https://youtu.be/HRFPWWoxpro). Both lives would be transformed by the union, and so would rock and roll. Their friendship was founded on the music but, like music, it was transcendent. It was life. They kicked the rules to the curb and developed a life-long friendship that accidentally and intentionally dealt with race and the scar of hate that still affects this country today.

My limited wallet and limited LP exposure meant there would be some time before I ventured backwards in Bruce’s discography. But when I did, the love affair deepened. The complexity and diversity of the way he approached rock and roll was unlike anything I’d heard. Clearly his music was influenced by many including Dylan, Roy Orbison, Phil Spector, The Animals, and others, but his sound was his own. The first two albums were not big commercial successes and, as I understand it, his third needed to be a hit in order to keep his contract with the record label. Of course, the third was Born To Run and the rest was history. In that reverse exploration of his music, I came across album #2; The Wild, The Innocent and The E Street Shuffle. That is where I found and was blown away with this non-sequitur piece called New York City Serenade.

This post feels like and homage to The Boss. Maybe it’s just a testimonial of the power of music and its impact on my life. But really, this is just a long intro into a song you may have never heard but is one of my favorite Bruce songs and always on my Road Trip playlist. So with no further blathering, enjoy…



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