Sparks Fly On E Street: Bruce Springsteen, “The Big Muddy” (1992)

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Right in the middle of Lucky Town‘s stream of general uplift comes “The Big Muddy,” a tale in which the darker side of life has its own gravitational attraction — and how dealing with the nuances of right and wrong can be tougher that a person might expect.

I’ve always been a big fan of Bruce adding the rare bluesy touch to his songs, the slide guitar here bringing so much atmosphere. Sadly, that’s kind of a rare move on his part. I remember thinking how cool it was to see him laying down a few blues licks during that cameo for the film High Fidelity. Sure, Springsteen is no blues artist, but he knows the landscape.

The live version from the ’92 tour puts the slide guitar in the background, deriving its power from a reverb-drenched vocal performance. Some guitar histrionics would have been great on this one but hey, those early 90s? They were some strange times.

Up next: Living Proof

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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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