?

Log in

No account? Create an account
 
 
21 May 2009 @ 07:50 am
Song of the Week: #50: Bruce Springsteen "Outlaw Pete"  


From his most recent CD, Working on a Dream, released earlier this year, the Boss pulls his song structure out of the ‘70s and kicks off the album like a storm. Back in the day, Bruce didn’t always follow the verse-chorus-verse-chorus-solo-bridge-chorus formula, heck even most of his radio hits of the ‘70s don’t follow that structure, and to kick off his new album this way is a aural treat. The song immediately pulls you in with one of the finest lyrical verses I’ve heard in a long time. The imagery alone is so powerful.

He was born a little baby on the Appalachian Trail
At six months old he'd done three months in jail
He robbed a bank in his diapers and little bare baby feet
All he said was "Folks my name is Outlaw Pete"


From birth to…well, I don’t want to ruin the story…Bruce weaves the wild west tale of Pete’s life resulting in a lyrical and instrumental treasure. The style and tempo changes ebb and flow in time to the changes in his life, culminating in a dramatic and emotional vocal delivery of his mysterious end:

Some say Pete and his pony vanished over the edge
And some say they remain frozen high up on that icy ledge
A young Navajo girl washes in the river, her skin so fair
And braids a piece of Pete's buckskin chaps into her hair


Again, it’s all about passion and beautiful imagery that sets Springsteen apart.

He was in Albany last week and this was the third track in the setlist – like most new material from older artists it’s a bathroom break for many, but not that night – this left the crowd mesmerized. I could type for days about the minutia of this track from the lonely harmonica, to the rollicking fight instrumentals, the crescendo that builds into the rideout at the end, but I’ll let you discover those things on your own.

More Bruce:
"Outlaw Pete" (live)
"Born to Run" (live) - the greatest American Rock & Roll song ever?? Maybe.

Outlaw Pete
He was born a little baby on the Appalachian Trail
At six months old he'd done three months in jail
He robbed a bank in his diapers and little bare baby feet
All he said was "Folks my name is Outlaw Pete"
I'm Outlaw Pete, I'm Outlaw Pete, can you hear me?

At 25 a Mustang pony he did steal
And he rode her 'round and 'round on heaven's wheel
Father Jesus I'm an outlaw, killer and a thief
And I slow down only to sow my grief
I'm Outlaw Pete, I'm Outlaw Pete, can you hear me?

He cut his trail of tears across the countryside
And where he went women wept and men died

One night he awoke from a vision of his own death
Saddled his pony and rode out deep into the West
Married a Navajo girl and settled down on the res.
And as the snow fell he held their beautiful daughter to his chest
I'm Outlaw Pete, I'm Outlaw Pete, can you hear me?
Can you hear me? Can you hear me?

Out of the East on an Irish stallion came bounty hunter Dan
His heart quickened and burdened by the need to get his man
He found Pete peacefully fishing by the river
Pulled his gun and got the drop
He said "Pete you think you've changed but you have not"

He cocked his pistol pulled the trigger and shouted, "Let it start"
Pete drew a knife from his boot, threw it,
And pierced Dan through the heart
Dan smiled as he lay in his own blood dying in the sun
Whispered in Pete's ear "We cannot undo these things we've done"
You're Outlaw Pete, You're Outlaw Pete, can you hear me?
Can you hear me? Can you hear me?

For forty days & nights Pete rode and did not stop
Till he sat high upon an icy mountaintop
He watched a hawk on a desert updraft, slip & slide
Moved to the edge and dug his spurs deep into his pony's side

Some say Pete and his pony vanished over the edge
And some say they remain frozen high up on that icy ledge
A young Navajo girl washes in the river, her skin so fair
And braids a piece of Pete's buckskin chaps into her hair
Outlaw Pete, Outlaw Pete, can you hear me?
Can you hear me? Can you hear me? Can you hear me?
Can you hear me? Can you hear me?