After waiting far too many years, I finally decided to download the old 1995 Springsteen album “The Ghost of Tom Joad”.
I’d had a sneaking suspicion that it would be great – and it didn’t let me down. It is Springsteen doing a musical version of the Grapes of Wrath – but set in the late 20th century south-west of America. Dusty landscape, Mexican immigrants, INS agents, desert motels, empty mountains.
It is lyrically almost as good as Nebraska – but is more coherent as a concept. It is clear he is building a Steinbeck type narrative right from the start, but his modern bleak twist is unique. It’s also musically very stripped down, soft vocals, mostly acoustic, light keyboards, no backing vocals really.
If you’re into Sprinsteen at all – this is a must have.