The Ghost Of Tom Joad - Studio Sessions


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Commercially Released: November 16, 1995
Produced by Springsteen and Chuck Plotkin
Recording Engineer: Toby Scott
Recorded from March 1995 to September 1995 at Thrill Hill West (Springsteen's Los Angeles home studio)

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.

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

Additional Recordings

DEAD MAN WALKIN' 2:43 1995 comp / ESSENTIAL
BROTHERS UNDER THE BRIDGE 4:51 TRACKS
THE HITTER 5:53 DEVILS

Details

HIGHWAY 29 3:34 JOAD

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

SINALOA COWBOYS 3:46 JOAD

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

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 4:20 JOAD / ESSENTIAL / CHAPTER
THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD - V2 2007 compilation
THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD - V3 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 West (Bruce's Los Angeles home studio). 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). The rock arrangement was premiered live on April 7, 2008 in Anaheim, CA, performed with Tom Morello sharing lead vocals. V2 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 the mid-late 2006 period. Bruce’s parts (vocal, harmonica) were recorded at his NJ home studio 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 USA during mid-late 2006 and then everything was mixed together at Shelter Island Sound Studios in NYC by David Seitz. The additional musicians are Mark Dann (acoustic guitar), David Hamburger (dobro), Mike Visceglia (bass), Tim Carbone (fiddle) and Ken Lovelett (percussion). Produced by Springsteen, Jim Musselman and David Seitz. The recording was first released on September 11, 2007 on the Various Artists charity compilation Sowing The Seeds (Appleseed). V3 was recorded in March 2013 in Los Angeles, the day before a flight to Australia for the Australian leg of the Wrecking Ball Tour. Produced by Ron Aniello and Springsteen. Musician credits are Springsteen (lead vocal, guitar), Roy Bittan (piano), Nils Lofgren (pedal steel, mandolin), Max Weinberg (drums), Tom Morello (lead vocal, guitar), Soozie Tyrell (violin), Charlie Giordano (accordion) and Ron Aniello (bass, synth).

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). Springsteen handles guitar and vocals and his five-man backing band on this recording is Danny Federici (keyboards and accordion), Jennifer Condos (bass), Marty Rifkin (pedal steel), Gary Mallaber (drums) and Soozie Tyrell (violin and backing vocals), along with Lisa Lowell and Patti Scialfa providing backing vocals.

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

Note: The same song that would eventually make its debut on the The Ghost Of Tom Joad album in late 1995. V1 and V2 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. The lyrics are about a 70% match to the released version. V3 was recorded sometime April–June 1995 at Thrill Hill West (Bruce's Los Angeles home studio. 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 1995 comp / ESSENTIAL: BONUS

Note: Written in spring 1995 upon request of friend-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. Song received an Academy Award Nomination but (unlike "Streets Of Philadelphia") it didn't win. Recorded sometime April–May 1995 at Thrill Hill West (Bruce's Los Angeles home studio). Springsteen handles guitar and vocals and his 3-man backing band on this recording is Danny Federici (keyboards), Jim Hanson (bass) and Gary Mallaber (drums).

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 West (Bruce's Los Angeles home studio). 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).

THE HITTER - V1 uncirculating
THE HITTER - V2 5:53 DEVILS

Note: Written by Bruce in the autumn of 1996 while on the Ghost Of Tom Joad tour and premiered live on November 13, 1996. Recorded during studio sessions in 1998 (this version does not circulate). Re-recorded in 2004 and released on the Devils & Dust album. The core recording (which may date from 1997-98) is Springsteen solo, on all instruments (vocals, guitar, keyboards and percussion). The strings (Nashville String Machine) and horns (Brice Andrus, Donald Strand, Susan Welty and Thomas Witte) were recorded and added in 2004.

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 on a set of homesick 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. Three takes (two complete), both circulating in a much more rocking arrangement. "Cynthia" resurrected as V3 on May 23, 1995; studio logs show this was recorded the same day as "The Ghost Of Tom Joad", 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 E Street Band took her on the road in 2003.

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' new album. Garry contacted Springsteen asking if Burgess could cover the song. According to Burgess' 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. First performed live in its complete form on April 12, 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 this is the only known outtake from the 2004 sessions, although it is likely others exist.

IDIOT'S DELIGHT uncirculating

Note: Co-written by Springsteen and Joe Grushecky in July 1995, with Bruce providing most of the music and Grushecky most of the lyrics. Song first released by Grushecky on his December 1997 studio album Coming Home. Springsteen first performed the song live on April 25, 2000, with Grushecky as a guest vocalist.

I'M NOT SLEEPING uncirculating

Note: Co-written by Springsteen and Joe Grushecky in July 1995, with Bruce providing most of the music and Grushecky most of the lyrics. Song first released by Grushecky on his December 1997 studio album Coming Home. Springsteen first performed the song live on November 4, 2010, with Joe Grushecky and the Houserockers.

1945 uncirculating

Note: Co-written by Springsteen and Joe Grushecky in July 1995, with Bruce providing most of the music and Grushecky most of the lyrics. Song first released by Grushecky on his December 1997 studio album Coming Home. Springsteen has yet to perform the song live.

CHEAP MOTEL uncirculating

Note: Co-written by Springsteen and Joe Grushecky in July 1995, with Bruce providing most of the music and Grushecky most of the lyrics. Song first released by Grushecky on his December 1997 studio album Coming Home. Springsteen has yet to perform the song live.


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