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Ghost of Tom Joad

4.2 out of 5 stars 88 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (Nov. 21 1995)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sony Music Canada Inc.
  • ASIN: B000002BFL
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Audio Cassette  |  LP Record
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars 88 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #40,702 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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1. The Ghost Of Tom Joad
2. Straight Time
3. Highway 29
4. Youngstown
5. Sinaloa Cowboys
6. The Line
7. Balboa Park
8. Day Lightning
9. The New Timer
10. Across The Border
11. Galveston Bay
12. My Best Was Never Good Enough

Product Description

Product Description

Bruce Springsteen ~ The Ghost Of Tom Joad

Bruce Springsteen followed his muse on this haunting 1995 release. Perhaps that's why it barely made a dent in the marketplace, even while it thrilled the faithful who were willing to take another dark, Nebraska-like journey with him. It's abundantly clear that Springsteen had been soaking himself in the work of John Steinbeck and Woody Guthrie during the writing of The Ghost of Tom Joad, but their combined influence is found on more than just the title track. It's all over these windblown songs (including the haunting "Dry Lightning" and "the seminal "Youngstown") and their hard-scrabble protagonists. Not the Boss's biggest record, but certainly one of his best. --Michael Ruby

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
I know I will be ridiculed for not praising Springsteen like everyone else on this planet does. For me, Springsteen is not a legend, has a lousy voice and is one of the most overrated singer/songwritters around to my ears. He is a very, very wealthy man who is writing songs about being poor. While he's cruising around in the Arizona mountains in his $200K 4-door convertable to and from his multi-million dollar ranch in the mountains, he is writting songs about poverty and despair and the "tough life". Sorry, but it does not come across as valid. This album contains attempts at depicting the rough life amonst poverty stricken America and the southwest. Some are decent enough, some are just flat out dull attempts to write Dylan and Van Zandt-like folk numbers. If you want since hard-life folk songs, check out Fred Neil, Townes Van Zandt, Nick Drake, Johnny Cash, etc as there's just so many that are way, way better than this album... Springsteen is an extremely wealthy man who is living the great life and is dripping with money and riches so I don't know why he is pretending to be leading such a difficult "hard-times" life by writting these types of songs. I'm sorry, these lyrics just come across as being superficial and phoney to me. For entertainment purposes and such, I can accept this album. For sincerity purposes, I sure hope he was not cashing in on the emotions of others. However, if I had to pick one Springsteen album to keep, it would be this one despite it's potential insincerity. I've always thought he was very overrated anyhow so perhaps this is an extremely biased review. Take it for what it's worth though. He never has and never will be my boss. Still though, this album (unlike his others) is listenable all the way thru despite some snooze parts here and there.
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Format: Audio CD
Supposedly, Bruce Springsteen based the title of this stark connection of acoustic songs on John Steinbeck's Okie farmer/idealist from 'The Grapes Of Wrath"---but I can't help but to think that it was every bit as much Kurt Cobain's ghost that haunts his 13th album as that of Mr. Joad. Whether in his punk seperatism he realized it or not, Cobain batteled the same pressures Springsteen's battled throughout HIS career---and I think Bruce knew it and was pulling for him---so much so that Cobain's heroin-overdose death---a year before this album's release---probably affected him at least as much as Neil Young, who found one of his most famous lyrics---"It's better to burn out than fade away"---quoted in Cobain's sucide note. In fact, one could read the title track's standout lyric "The highway is alive tonight/But nobody's kiddin' nobody 'bout where it goes" as an answer to Young's lyric. And the stories told here---of the forgotten and dispossed in America---set in California, a state that's one hell of a lot closer to Cobain's Washington State than Springsteen's Garden State of New Jersey--were metaphors for Cobain's despair---none more so than the sarcastic album closer, "My Best Was Never Good Enough," which might have been the last words Kurt said to Courtney Love---or what Bruce said to HIS wife after Cobain killed himself....
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Format: Audio CD
Another bit of proof that Springsteen is a true artist.
He hasn't simply stolen characters from Steinbeck and others; he turned them into modern day men and women, melded and welded them into his own vision, made them a part of his ongoing observations of America.
"The highway is alive tonight, but nobody's kiddin' nobody about where it goes...where it's headin' everybody knows," Springsteen sings on the title track. That's a real downer, coming from a guy who used to use the Highway as a metaphor for hope. But these aren't the young "Born To Run" Jersey kids, who wanted to hit the road to find their fortune. The characters on TOM JOAD have been thrown on the road, displaced and hunting for a meal or a job. They want to get off the road but, as the Joads found in GRAPES OF WRATH, nobody wants you to stop at their place.
As with so many of his recent records, Bruce delivers one absolutely flawless vocal. "Highway 25" sounds like "Streets Of Philadelphia" or "Secret Garden," but is, thematically, cut from the same cloth as NEBRASKA. Like so much of NEBRASKA, it sounds like the courtroom confession of a killer, in this case a man who doesn't quite believe he let himself fall so far off the path. At the beginning of the song he works in a shoe store. He flirts with a customer, and before he knows it they are in "a small town bank...well, I had a gun. You know the rest."
There's so much more I could say--about Bruce's evolving use of symbolism and metaphor, about how cars and the road and rivers are used over and over in ways that shape character and event, about how he uses songs to write novels, and all the other pompous Critic-Talk--but what's the point. You get it.
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Format: Audio CD
In a true testimony to Bruce Springsteen greatness his latest studio album in a 25 year career is one of his best. In the same vain as Nebraska, i.e Bruce and his guitar only, "Ghost" is bordering on a concept album. Set in the world of illegal immigrants, ex-cons, border patrolmen and travellers of the great American railroads, Bruce creates some of the most haunting and beautiful songs of his career. "The Ghost of Tom Joad" opens the album with the tragically illustrated life of Americas poor and then melds into a statement of John Steinbecks and woody Guthries role in the plight of the working class. "Straight Time" is one of Bruce's best songs as the almost silent guitar relaxes the listener into a false sense of hope while the lyrics and his voice ache with the difficulties of "doing straight time". The album moves on to explore the story of two doomed brothers from Mexico in "Sinaloa Cowboys" to the cynically optimistic "My best was never good enough". Finally what makes "Ghost" an essential buy is the track "Youngstown". With this Bruce explores the history of a single town from Civil War to Vietnam and the cycle of factory work that grips a family, "youngstown" is arguably Bruce's best track and confirms his place as one of the great lyricists of all time, "these smoke stacks reachin' like the arms of God into a beautiful sky of soot and clay", "once I made you rich enough rich enough to forget my name".
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