Story 1997-05-22 Naples, Italy

22.05.97 Naples, Italy, intro to ´Straight Time´
´´Thank you, this is a song about a fellow that gets out of prison and uh….(odd sound) there´s a little reindeer out there or something, what is that ?…gets out of prison and tries to find his way back into his, uh….family and it´s about trying to change your life, trying to learn how to be new, that´s hard for, uh, anybody to do….everybody´s struggled with a little straight time ….”

22.05.97 Naples, Italy, intro to ´Highway 29´
´´This is a song about the price of insight….”

22.05.97 Naples, Italy, intro to ´Red Headed Woman´
´´(?)….this is a song about men….donna….love, amore….sex, sexo….mostly about sexo (chuckles)….(asks in Italian if there are any red headed women in the crowd)….”

22.05.97 Naples, Italy, intro to ´Two Hearts´
´´(?)….uh, this is for my red headed woman…..”

22.05.97 Naples, Italy, intro to ´The River´
´´Glad to have to come to Napoli, this was where half of my family is from….they came to the States around the turn of the century from Naples and from Sorrento….so….but, anyway, this is a song about my hometown….”

22.05.97 Naples, Italy, intro to ´Dry Lightning´
´´Thank you, this is a, uh… about (?) donna, amore, sexo…..molto difficile….(?) (chuckles) I guess it is but uh….this is a song about, I was telling the folks last night I didn´t write about men and women that much for a long time, wrote about the men in cars…..that worked out pretty well…..then I wrote about the men in cars looking at the women…..worked out good ….then I wrote about the men and the women in the cars but not talking very much …..I did real good with that too (chuckles) uh….then I took the men and the women out of the cars and….that was, uh, that was where I fucked up, I think, you know (chuckles) commercially and, but….that´s the only, uh…..that´s the only way you´re gonna find out who you really are, I guess (chuckles) you have to get out of that car….but this is a song about one of those relationships that almost, almost makes it, you know, and…..and might´ve made it if you sort of weren´t so busy kind of fucking it up all the time….but uh…..the only thing I did find out ….was that with men and women and amore and sexo (chuckles) ´almost´ never counts….”

22.05.97 Naples, Italy, intro to ´Sinaloa Cowboys´
´´This is Kevin Buell, my friend (?)….the only member of the Tom Joad-orchestra (chuckles) (some guy yells) oh, I´m working on that part (chuckles) these are, uh (?) these next four songs are set on the, uh, southwestern part of the United States….and uh, that´s a part of the country I´ve traveled through quite a bit and uh….I was in a little motel in Arizona about six years ago….and uh…..was one of these little desert towns, there´s many, many of ´em through the southwestern part of the United States, once you get off the interstate, there´s just a gas-station and a grocery store and a motel and a bar and it was one of those little motels….where you can kind of open the door to your room and reach out and touch your car in the parking lot, you know….but uh, these two Mexican, Mexican men came in late at night and one was a fellow about my age, one was a young kid and he started, he came over and looked at our motorcycles and started talking about he had a younger brother that´d died in a Southern California motorcycle accident….and uh…..there was something in his voice that always, uh, always stayed with me…..and many years later, maybe, I think it was because at the time I was just about to become a dad and….and you´re already concerned about, you know you´re bringing children into the world that is very often unsafe and you can´t protect them as you might like….uh…..and that´s a feeling that sort of comes with parenthood and it never leaves, you know, you´re always carrying around that knowledge and….but many years later I was writing a song on the Central California drug trade and my friend´s, uh, my friend that I met that night, his voice came back and is in this song somewhere so I dedicate this to him every night, this is called ´Sinaloa Cowboys´…..”

22.05.97 Naples, Italy, intro to ´The Line´
´´This, uh….this next song is set on the San Diego-Tijuana border and uh…..that´s a very volatile part of the country right now, there´s a lot of young guys that come out of the army and they end up going to work for the California border patrol and that´s a confusing job…. the, uh, immigration issue in the States was abused very badly in the last election, there´s always been people coming across the, uh, southern border that´re willing to do jobs that nobody else wants to do for a pay that nobody else will take at the behest of American businesses….and uh, in return their kids have had the chance to get a bit of an education or some medical care if they got ill….but anyway this is a song about a young border patrolman who´s trying to figure out….where that line is down there…..this is called ´The Line´….”

22.05.97 Naples, Italy, intro to ´Balboa Park´
´´This song, this next song is a song about kids and uh, once you have your own kids, you´re sensitive to whatever you see or hear happening to children, I always say that, that children are like a window onto the grace that´s in the world and uh….they bring that, that grace is their birthright and they bring it into their parents´ lives and that´s their parents´ blessing, you know….but the parents have the job to, uh, protect that grace that they may grow in it, until they´re old enough to protect themselves….but this song about kids that don´t have anybody to do that for ´em….and uh, they come across the Tijuana river into San Diego, end up on the streets….on the streets of San Diego, uh, in this place called Balboa Park, this is what happens when that grace gets violated….and there´s nobody there for you…..”

22.05.97 Naples, Italy, intro to ´Across the Border´
´´I grew up…I grew up in a house where there wasn´t a lot of culture and uh….or talk about books or film or paintings or sculpture or the part that culture was supposed to play in your life, you know….and uh, the first thing I really remember was, uh, my mother had the radio on in the kitchen in the morning and uh….she´d be playing all those great Top 40-records when I was a little boy, still in Catholic school, she was a young girl and she liked that rock and roll music, you know….and uh, she´d have the radio on and I´d be sitting there in my green tie and my green pants, with my sister, and I´d hear all those great records and they were records that sustained me for most of my life, you know, there was something in the sadness and the beauty and the sex and the fun in all those singers´ voices that did for me what culture was supposed to do for you, which is open up your eyes to the outside world, uh, to give you a sense of a life, that it´s larger than the life you may see being lived around you by your friends or your family….and uh….that´s something that, those records which everybody thought was junk, they sustained me like that for, for most of my young life, then as I got older, a friend of mine showed me a film, John Ford´s Grapes of Wrath and the Steinbeck novel, I went out and I got the book and I read the book and the film and the novel had that kind of impact on me that all those great records did….they gave me a sense of myself, a sense of….of life´s possibilities, there was something in the story of a man who comes from nothing and educates himself and….tries to….tries to live for an idea that´s bigger than he is and tries to save his humanity and in doing so, salvages his community, uh ….I´ve gone back to that story many, many, many times, I always find, uh, hope in it, hope in it and this is a song about hope, about the kind of hope that people carry in them, very often even after there´s no reason to continue hoping, I think that´s what makes us human….and uh, it´s the way people fall back on love, faith and ultimately on one another ´cause that´s all there is….but uh, I´d like to do this for you tonight and I´d like to say, uh (speaks Italian)…”

22.05.97 Naples, Italy, intro to ´This Hard Land´
‘‘Here’s a song about, uh…’s an immigrant song really….and uh….so I’ll sing this…. ´specially tonight because this is, uh, this is the part of Italy where my, like I was saying, where my family immigrated from to United States….it’s a song about looking for a place where…..I guess where you can shape the kind of world you wanna live in….looking for some friendship….trying to hold on to a little faith and a little hope….trying to find out where ….love manifests itself and put up a good fight against the other things….so I’ll do this for you tonight, here we go….”

22.05.97 Naples, Italy, intro to ´Galveston Bay´
´´I´d like to thank everybody for coming out to the show tonight, thank you very much….glad to have been here tonight….this is a, uh, song that was the, uh….last song that I wrote for the Tom Joad-record, uh….and uh, I guess it´s a song about how, uh….it´s funny you get older and you think because the world seems so unchangeable that there´s nothing you can do about it but uh, in the end, I think, the individual decisions we make make a difference, those are the things that hold communities together and families together and our own sense of ourselves….this is a song about a man who makes a particular decision and….uh….that helps hold those things together, I guess, this is called, uh….at the end of the Vietnam War there were a lot of Vietnamese refugees that settled in the Gulf Coast of Texas and they went into the fishing industry and there was a lot of tension between the Texas fishernen and…. Vietnamese fishermen, many of the Texas fishermen had fought in Vietnam so…..anyway, this is called ´Galveston Bay´….”

Compiled by : Johanna Pirttijärvi

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