The Boss Has A Workingman’s Ear

by | Apr 27, 2006

I don’t believe I’ve ever purchased a Bruce Springsteen album before, but I did today. And I could not be happier with the product–13 folk tunes made popular decades ago by Pete Seeger.

Richard Cromelin of the Los Angeles Times hears “We Shall Overcome–The Seeger Sessions” this way:

It’s joyful and moving because they’re unassailable cornerstones of American music, songs that sprouted from the soil of the nation’s experience and tell us how people worked, danced, loved, dealt with disaster, found a voice, inspired themselves and ultimately survived.

Guitars, banjo, fiddles, horns, organ, accordion, piano, drums, washboard and more pack these arrangements, but the music always breathes easily, with wood, wind and skin gathering into rich, organic shapes.

A Southern feel asserts itself in the Dixieland brass, and intentional or not, a subliminal New Orleans presence pervades the album in the textures and syncopations.

Springsteen will give the music its live debut at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival on Sunday.