Sparks Fly On E Street: Bruce Springsteen, "The E Street Shuffle" (1973)

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Sparks fly on E Street when the boy prophets walk it handsome and hot…

Yeah, sometime a song hits hard because of the meaning. Other times, it’s the vibe and exuberance that’s transmitted. “The E Street Shuffle” is one of those songs that makes my ear parts sing. From the opening busted horn parts to the slippery guitar intro to the group-shout chorus, it’s one of those songs that feels more fun to me as time goes on.

While there are certainly more serious moments on The Wild, The Innocent & The E Street Shuffle, the opening song is a big blast of fun that not only sets a mood but also served to highlight Springsteen’s ambition: the album would bring with it jazz influences, wild improvisation in the live setting, and some relentless rock.

The studio version of “The E Street Shuffle” would have been instructive here, but I just couldn’t resist this live take from the full-album show at Madison Square Garden in 2009. Bruce “conducting” the horn intro? It’s just too much fun.

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Mark Saleski

Mark Saleski

Mark Saleski is a writer and music obsessive based out of the woods of central New Hampshire. A past contributor to Jazz.com, Blogcritics.org and Salon, he originated several of our weekly features including the Friday Morning Listen, (Cross the) Heartland, WTF! Wednesday, and Sparks Fly on E Street. Follow him on Twitter: @msaleski. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
Mark Saleski
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