#Springsteen

#Springsteen Songs: The River

1980 The RiverVeel karakters in de nummers van Springsteen zijn fictief. Maar soms bestaan ze echt zoals in ‘The River’. Het koppel waarover Springsteen in dit nummer zingt zijn Springsteen’s zus Ginny en zijn zwager Mickey. Als Ginny 18 is, raakte ze zwanger, snel trouwen ze. Om geld te verdienen gaat Mickey in de bouw werken. Het gaat van kwaad tot erger. Mickey verdiend niet genoeg om zijn gezin te onderhouden. Ginny maakt het allemaal niet meer uit ‘Mary acts like she don’t care’. Voor ‘The River’, raakte Springsteen dus geïnspireerd door het verhaal van zijn zus. Met een van de mooiste en ook donkerste teksten van Springsteen. Veel nummers van Springsteen gaan over dromen. Maar wat doe je als die droom niet uitkomt zoals van het koppel in ‘The River’.

Is a dream a lie if it don’t come true
Or is it something worse

Live kent dit nummer veel uitvoeringen, van versies die dicht bij de versie op de plaat blijven tot lange uitgesponnen versies met een geweldig intro. Mijn favoriete versie is, de versie die verscheen op de live plaat ‘Live 1975-85’. Waarop Springsteen verteld dat hij werd opgeroepen om zich te melden voor militaire dienst in de tijd van de Vietnam oorlog.

This is ah… When I was growing up, me and my dad used to go at it all the time over almost anything. But, ah, I used to have really long hair, way down past my shoulders. I was 17 or 18, oh man, he used to hate it. And we got to where we’d fight so much that I’d, that I’d spent a lot of time out of the house; and in the summertime it wasn’t so bad, ‘cause it was warm, and my friends were out, but in the winter, I remember standing downtown where it’d get so cold and, when the wind would blow, I had this phone booth I used to stand in. And I used to call my girl, like, for hours at a time, just talking to her all night long. And finally I’d get my nerve up to go home. I’d stand there in the driveway and he’d be waiting for me in the kitchen and I’d tuck my hair down on my collar and I’d walk in and he’d call me back to sit down with him. And the first thing he’d always ask me was what did I think I was doing with myself. And the worst part of it was that I could never explain to him.

I remember I got in a motorcycle accident once and I was laid up in bed and he had a barber come in and cut my hair and, man, I can remember telling him that I hated him and that I would never ever forget it. And he used to tell me: “Man, I can’t wait till the army gets you. When the army gets you they’re gonna make a man out of you. They’re gonna cut all that hair off and they’ll make a man out of you.”

And this was, I guess, ’68 when there was a lot of guys from the neighbourhood going to Vietnam. I remember the drummer in my first band coming over to my house with his marine uniform on, saying that he was going and that he didn’t know where it was. And a lot of guys went, and a lot of guys didn’t come back. And the lot that came back weren’t the same anymore. I remember the day I got my draft notice. I hid it from my folks and three days before my physical me and my friends went out and we stayed up all night and we got on the bus to go that morning and man we were all so scared… And I went, and I failed. I came home [audience cheers], it’s nothing to applaud about… I remember coming home after I’d been gone for three days and walking in the kitchen and my mother and father were sitting there and my dad said: “Where you been?” and I said, uh, “I went to take my physical.” He said “What happened?” I said “They didn’t take me.” And he said: “That’s good.”

I come from down in the valley
where mister when you’re young
They bring you up to do like your daddy done
Me and Mary we met in high school
when she was just seventeen
We’d ride out of that valley down to where the fields were green

We’d go down to the river
And into the river we’d dive
Oh down to the river we’d ride

Then I got Mary pregnant
and man that was all she wrote
And for my nineteenth birthday I got a union card and a wedding coat
We went down to the courthouse
and the judge put it all to rest
No wedding day smiles no walk down the aisle
No flowers no wedding dress

That night we went down to the river
And into the river we’d dive
Oh down to the river we did ride

I got a job working construction for the Johnstown Company
But lately there ain’t been much work on account of the economy
Now all them things that seemed so important
Well mister they vanished right into the air
Now I just act like I don’t remember
Mary acts like she don’t care

But I remember us riding in my brother’s car
Her body tan and wet down at the reservoir
At night on them banks I’d lie awake
And pull her close just to feel each breath she’d take
Now those memories come back to haunt me
they haunt me like a curse
Is a dream a lie if it don’t come true
Or is it something worse
that sends me down to the river
though I know the river is dry
That sends me down to the river tonight
Down to the river
my baby and I
Oh down to the river we ride