Sparks Fly On E Street: Bruce Springsteen, “Soul Driver” (1992)

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Looking back, the slightly angular (for Bruce) guitar lines that introduce “Soul Driver” remind me of the phrases he played during “Once Upon a Time in the West” for the 2007 tribute We All Love Ennio Morricone. The sonic similarities could have been more extensive had Morricone not drenched (actually, it was more like drowned) Bruce’s guitar in reverb. He also wrapped everything in piles of goopy strings. And yes, that song went on to win a Grammy award, pissing off Metallica fans everywhere (poor babies).

I was not ready for the way Morricone treated his own compositions — this was very different from things like the twisted edge of the music from “The Good, The Bad & The Ugly.” Similarly, I was kind of surprised at the synth pads and faux-reggae lilt of this track. But then I heard Sam Moore’s vocals kick in and I heard original E-Streeter David Sancious take to the organ, and I thought, “Yeah, I see where Bruce is going with this…and I kind of like it.”

I went to a couple of “other band” shows and can’t honestly remember if he played this one or not. For whatever reason, he chose to play this in a stripped-down fashion: just keyboards, vocals, and the collision of love and fate.

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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 [email protected]
Mark Saleski
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