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"CAPTAIN BILLY’S MAGIC 8 BALL" - A New Series Created By William Mesnik, The Mind Behind “Mesmerized”- EPISODE # 4 - "MY ONE AND ONLY" - FEATURING THE ALBUM "THE WILD, THE INNOCENT and THE E STREET SHUFFLE IN HIGH DEF by BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN- 1973

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CAPTAIN BILLY’S MAGIC 8 BALL A new series created by William Mesnik, the mind behind “Mesmerized”.

“MY ONE AND ONLYEPISODE #4: THE WILD, THE INNOCENT, AND THE E STREET SHUFFLE by Bruce Springsteen (1973, Columbia)

Ok, let’s get down to it: I was a jealous motherfucker when it came to Bruce Springsteen. Picking up Crawdaddy in 1972 in Iowa City, I read Peter Knobler’s profile, and thought, “hey, this might be someone I would like.” I scooped up “Greetings from Asbury, Park” and was immediately hooked. I became an Apostle for the Gospel of Bruce, determined to spread the good news.

I am extremely proud to state that I introduced Rich Buckland to Bruce Springsteen, returning the favor for the many artists that he turned be on to all throughout high school. And, now Rich is a much more loyal devotee of the Boss than I. After the Palladium show in ‘75, which took place on the same week that Bruce was featured on the covers of both Time and Newsweek simultaneously, I was done. I couldn’t share him with the world after having been in the front row of the Bottom Line when he introduced “Born to Run”, or seeing him with Bob Marley at Max’s Kansas City, or most fondly, when Rich and I went to My Father’s Place in Roslyn, Long Island, to discover the future Ruler of the Universe playing for a minuscule crowd, but giving the same titanic stadium-level energy that he became worshipped for throughout the ensuing decades.

The Wild, the Innocent, and the E Street Shuffle is my favorite Springsteen record, mainly because it contains the songs 4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy), and his perennial closer of the time, Rosalita. And, his hot band sounds live. This disc represents my special time with Bruce, when he was sharing the excitement and promise of his own youthful, special time. It’s Bruce before he knew he was SIGNIFICANT.

It’s an uneven collection, stretching out across a wide range of literary and musical styles – (witness the tuba and accordion on Wild Billy’s Circus Story juxtaposed with the symphonic New York City Serenade). As a writer he was experimenting, veering between raw funk, jazz, shuffle, Broadway, and autobiographical singer-songwriting. Sandy always takes me right back to that place and time: tacky, romantic and true – stuffed with a novelist’s eye for detail, romance, and plain spoken emotional honesty.

Now he’s The Boss, the eternal spokesman for the common man, beloved by millions. But, my Bruce was a ballsy kid, blessed with boundless physical and verbal energy and a shark’s hungry instinct for hooks.


By Rich Buckland 04/04/2021 01:53 PM

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