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Wrecking Ball | The Nation

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Eric Alterman

Eric Alterman

Well-chosen words on music, movies and politics, with the occasional special guest.

Wrecking Ball

I've got a new "Think Again" column called called "Kevin Jennings, the Mainstream Media, and Right-Wing Target Practice." Read it here.

Also, I'll be doing an event next week on October 8 at Demos with Rich Benjamin, who's just written a book called "Searching for Whitopia" which you can read about here.

I should have mentioned that I was speaking at the Glory Days conference last weekend at Monmouth University in West Long Branch. I had a really nice time meeting Springsteen-interested academics, musicians, and interested parties. We had a really interesting discussion. I strongly recommend the next one. I did not give a formal paper, but I found the one offered by Jim Cullen, which you can find here to be enormously thought provoking and indicative of the excellent quality of many of the presentations. Joe Grusheky, Jen Chapin, Gary US Bonds and many others performed. I was also quite happy to discover a new book of photos and essays called The Light in Darkness which made me painfully, but happily, nostalgic about the 1978 tour, one of the greatest experiences of my life. The photos of the tour are fantastic and while the essays naturally vary in quality, some of them are real gems. "It was like lightning flashing through the darkness and the band was the thunder," writes Ron Wells. "I had never seen any performer so full of energy and joy. He was definitely on a mission. This was not just a gig for him; it was freedom and exhilaration personified." It's on large format 9.25" x 12" EuroArt Silk 200m paper stock and contains more than 200 photographs reproduced from the original negatives and slides. The book is only available online for purchase at: www.thelightindarkness.com. (Bruce is doing Darkness in its entirety Friday night at Giants' Stadium. He did Born to Run last night. It was awfully moving, after all these years. And he wrote a new song just for these shows, "Wrecking Ball." You can see it here…and if you want to hear Bruce discuss the pain of turning sixty, inside the "rap" portion of "Growing Up," that's here.

Now here's Sal on Rhino's new box set: Where the Action Is

Rhino's new (kind of) fabulous boxed set, Where The Action Is: Los Angeles Nuggets, 1965-1968 is a 4 CD stroll through a specific rock and roll scene, or what I'd like to call "My least favorite songs by a lot of my favorite artists." As usual, Rhino Records leaves no stone unturned with both musical content and packaging. But like most sequels, Jaws 2, The Godfather Part III, to name but two, "L.A. Nuggets" may need to be the last time the idea is realized.

Now, don't get me wrong, this set plays really well. And it is indeed a blast. It just wears thin pretty quickly. Songs like "You Movin'" by The Byrds, "Somebody Groovy" by The Mamas & The Papas, "Daily Nightly" by The Monkees, and "Jill" by Gary Lewis & The Playboys are not usually the go-to tracks by these artists. Yes, they are fun curiousities, but nestled among 50 plus other curiousities, like tracks by such heavyweights as Fapardokly, The Moon, The Yellow Payges, Limey & The Yanks and The Sons Of Adam, the playlist becomes monotonous.

There is a reason the majority of the artists here never made it beyond Sunset Strip.

All that being said, I can still recommend this set for its stellar sound quality, beautiful and informative booklet, and the fact that even if the songs are hardly A-list material, it's a wonderful slice of music history.

Sal Nunziato
www.burnwoodtonite.blogspot.com

Sorry, I was not so crazy about the mail this week, so there's no letters…

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