The Ghost Of Tom Joad - Studio Sessions


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Commercially Released: November 16, 1995
Label: Columbia
Produced by Springsteen and Chuck Plotkin
Recorded by Toby Scott, assisted by Greg Goldman at Thrill Hill West (March 1995 - September 1995)
Mixed by Toby Scott at Thrill Hill West
Mastered by Dave Collins at A&M Mastering Studios
Design by Sandra Choron, Eric Dinyer, Harry Choron
Photography by Pam Springsteen
Research by Terry Magovern

Overview

Springsteen's January-February 1995 Blood Brothers studio sessions and live appearances with The E Street Band seem to have triggered a burst of songwriting activity in the months that followed, although the recording sessions for this newly-written material did not include The E Street Band. The sessions however, did feature E Street Band members in Federici and Tallent (and Soozie Tyrell). Although The Ghost Of Tom Joad sessions span a short, seven-month period (March-September 1995) Bruce wrote and recorded about two albums worth of new songs. Details surrounding these sessions remain sketchy and several of the song titles have still yet to come to light. The album was never truly mastered for release, Bruce instead used the rough mixes made on the day of the recordings. "I didn't want to dress it at all, similar to Nebraska", he told Rolling Stone in 2016, "These were records that were made at the very moment the music was made".

From the scattered comments of Springsteen and other session participants it would seem the Bruce recorded over an album's worth of solo material (seven of these recordings are found on The Ghost Of Tom Joad) and over an album's worth of band material (five of these recordings are found on The Ghost Of Tom Joad). The songs Bruce recorded solo may have spanned the entire session period. The band sessions appear to have been split into two or three phases during the spring and summer of 1995. One of the session phases included several rockabilly/country swing arranged songs – nothing from this session has yet emerged, although one verified composition from this session, "Tiger Rose", has been published.

Released

# Song Title Running Time Release
1. THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD 4:20 GOTJ
2. STRAIGHT TIME 3:23 GOTJ
3. HIGHWAY 29 3:34 GOTJ
4. YOUNGSTOWN 3:50 GOTJ
5. SINALOA COWBOYS 3:46 GOTJ
6. THE LINE 5:11 GOTJ
7. BALBOA PARK 3:15 GOTJ
8. DRY LIGHTNING 3:29 GOTJ
9. THE NEW TIMER 5:41 GOTJ
10. ACROSS THE BORDER 5:22 GOTJ
11. GALVESTON BAY 4:58 GOTJ
12. MY BEST WAS NEVER GOOD ENOUGH 1:57 GOTJ

Total Running Time: 50:18

Visit our release-pages for additional information.

Additional Recordings

Details

HIGHWAY 29 3:34 JOAD

Note: Recorded sometime March–August 1995 at Thrill Hill Recording, Beverly Hills, California. Springsteen solo.

SINALOA COWBOYS 3:46 JOAD

Note: Recorded sometime March–August 1995 at Thrill Hill Recording, Beverly Hills, California. Springsteen solo.

THE LINE 5:11 JOAD

Note: Recorded sometime March–August 1995 at Thrill Hill West (Bruce's Los Angeles home studio). Springsteen solo.

BROTHERS UNDER THE BRIDGE 4:51 TRACKS

Note: No direct relation to the 1983 Springsteen song also found on Tracks, except for the similar title. Recorded on May 22, 1995 at Thrill Hill Recording, Beverly Hills, California. Springsteen handles guitar and vocals and his 5-man backing band on this recording is Danny Federici (keyboards), Garry Tallent (bass), Marty Rifkin (pedal steel, dobro), Gary Mallaber (drums) and Soozie Tyrell (violin).

BALBOA PARK 3:15 JOAD

Note: Recorded sometime March–August 1995 at Thrill Hill West (Bruce's Los Angeles home studio). Springsteen solo.

THE NEW TIMER 5:41 JOAD

Note: Recorded sometime March–August 1995 at Thrill Hill West (Bruce's Los Angeles home studio). Springsteen solo.

GALVESTON BAY 4:58 JOAD

Note: Recorded sometime March–August 1995 at Thrill Hill West (Bruce's Los Angeles home studio). Springsteen solo.

MY BEST WAS NEVER GOOD ENOUGH 1:57 JOAD

Note: Recorded sometime March–August 1995 at Thrill Hill West (Bruce's Los Angeles home studio). Originally slated to be a non-album b-side. Springsteen solo.

THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD - V1 uncirculating
THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD - V2 4:20 JOAD / ESSENTIAL / CHAPTER
THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD - V3 2007 compilation
THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD - V4 7:34 HOPES

Note: Written as a rock song for the Greatest Hits project, but abandoned when Springsteen couldn't find an arrangement. Re-imagined as an acoustic song, and recorded May 23, 1995 at Thrill Hill Recording, Beverly Hills, California. Springsteen handles guitar and vocals, and his four-man backing band on this recording is Danny Federici (keyboards), Garry Tallent (bass), Marty Rifkin (pedal steel, dobro), and Gary Mallaber (drums). V3 is an entirely re-recorded version, but was not recorded during any of the three Seeger Sessions. It was recorded at various stages and studio locations during mid-/late-2006. Bruce's parts (vocal, harmonica) were recorded at Thrill Hill Recording, Rumson, New Jersey in August 2006. Pete Seeger's vocals were recorded at Seeger's cabin in Beacon, NY on July 4, 2006. The backing band's individual parts were recorded at various locations around the United States during mid-/late-2006 and then everything was mixed together at Shelter Island Sound Studios in New York City by David Seitz, and produced by Springsteen, Jim Musselman, and Seitz. The recording was first released on September 11, 2007 on the Various Artists charity compilation Sowing The Seeds (Appleseed). V4 was recorded in March 2013 in Los Angeles, the day before a flight to Australia for the Australian leg of the Wrecking Ball Tour, and was produced by Ron Aniello and Springsteen.

CYNTHIA - V1 3:24 LM-18 / GS
CYNTHIA - V2a 4:01 SO / MAT / UH
CYNTHIA - V2b 4:10 TRACKS
CYNTHIA - V3 uncirculating

Note: V1 was recorded April 20–21, 1983 at Thrill Hill West, Bruce's Hollywood Hills home, in rockabilly style for a set of home demos. V2 was Bruce re-recording this with The E Street Band on June 15, 1983, not April 20 as the Tracks notes claim, at The Hit Factory, New York in a much more rocking arrangement. "Cynthia" was resurrected over a decade later on May 23, 1995 (V3); studio logs show takes were recorded at Thrill Hill West with a four-man backing band of Danny Federici (keyboards), Garry Tallent (bass), Marty Rifkin (pedal steel, dobro) and Gary Mallaber (drums), the same day as "The Ghost Of Tom Joad".

YOUNGSTOWN 3:50 JOAD

Note: Recorded sometime April–June 1995 at Thrill Hill West (Bruce's Los Angeles home studio). Springsteen handles guitar and vocals and his five-man backing band on this recording is Chuck Plotkin (keyboards), Jim Hanson (bass), Marty Rifkin (pedal steel), Gary Mallaber (drums), and Soozie Tyrell (violin).

ACROSS THE BORDER 5:22 JOAD

Note: Recorded sometime April–June 1995 at Thrill Hill West (Bruce's Los Angeles home studio).

DRY LIGHTNING - V1 3:56 private cdr
DRY LIGHTNING - V2 3:03 private cdr
DRY LIGHTNING - V3 3:29 JOAD

Note: V1 and V2 are two takes of an acoustic demo recorded on February 25, 1993. Both utilize the same music but they are sung in different keys – this music however is totally different than what ended up being used on the official, released version, while the lyrics are about a 70% match. V3 was recorded sometime April–June 1995 at Thrill Hill Recording, Beverly Hills, California. Springsteen handles guitar and vocals and his four-man backing band on this recording is Danny Federici (keyboards), Garry Tallent (bass), Gary Mallaber (drums) and Soozie Tyrell (violin).

STRAIGHT TIME 3:23 JOAD

Note: Recorded sometime April–June 1995 at Thrill Hill West (Bruce's Los Angeles home studio). Springsteen handles guitar and vocals and his five-man backing band on this recording is Danny Federici (keyboards), Jim Hanson (bass), Gary Mallaber (drums), Marty Rifkin (pedal steel guitar), and Soozie Tyrell (violin).

DEAD MAN WALKIN' 2:43 OST: DEADMAN / 1995 Single / ESSENTIAL: BONUS

Note: Written in spring 1995 upon request of friend and director Tim Robbins for his movie Dead Man Walking. First released on December 30, 1995 on the film's soundtrack CD and then as a single in early 1996 in some countries. Recorded sometime April–May 1995 at Thrill Hill West (Bruce's Los Angeles home studio). Springsteen handles guitar and vocals and his three-man backing band on this recording is Danny Federici (keyboards), Jim Hanson (bass), and Gary Mallaber (drums).

TIGER ROSE uncirculating

Note: Recorded sometime during the summer of 1995 at Thrill Hill West when Garry Tallent was out in Los Angeles participating in The Ghost Of Tom Joad sessions. By late 1995, Tallent was in Nashville about to start producing rockabilly legend Sonny Burgess's new self-titled album. Garry contacted Springsteen asking if Burgess could cover the song. According to Burgess's comments, Tallent taught his band the music and Springsteen supplied the lyrics over the phone. The Burgess cover was released in June 1996. Springsteen first performed the song live on October 18, 2001.

I'M TURNING INTO ELVIS uncirculating

Note: Written by Springsteen during March–April 1995.

IT'S THE LITTLE THINGS THAT COUNT uncirculating

Note: Song written in 1995 and recorded for The Ghost Of Tom Joad - but not used. Bruce performed it live on the Ghost Of Tom Joad Tour. The song was revamped for Devils & Dust and was almost issued on the album as the 13th track. At this point it is the only known outtake from the 2004 sessions, although others likely exist.

HOMESTEAD - V1 4:14 SA
HOMESTEAD - V2 4:11 GUEST: BABYLON

Note: Co-written by Springsteen and Joe Grushecky at Thrill Hill Recording, Beverly Hills, California, in late 1993. Recorded by Joe Grushecky at the Hit Factory, New York during November 1993. Released on American Babylon album in October 1995. Springsteen's version surfaced in November 2013, broadcast on E Street Radio.


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