Tuesday, 24 January 2017

January #2 - He's Not Bob Dylan, But He Never Misses A Beat

2. Nils Lofgren - I Came To Dance
Well, my manager kept tellin' me
If I wanna be great
I'd better wise up
And sing my songs straight

I said, "Listen here, fool,
In order to survive
I've gotta be my dirty self
I won't play no jive!"
Another Springsteen-connected song today, from the man who replaced Steve Van Zandt in the E Street Band... and then stuck around when Little Stevie came back. This is the title track of an album from 1977 which the critics hated because it was seen at the time as Nils-Goes-Pop. Patti Austin's on backing vocals and the vocal arrangements for the whole album were done by Luther Vandross.

My first exposure to Nils as a solo artist was through his "greatest hits" collection Don't Walk, Rock. I was prbably drawn there by his one "big" hit, Shine Silently - and the fact that he was an E Streeter obviously helped. I loved every track on the collection, but found myself particularly drawn to the tracks from this album (the ones the critics loathed), so much so that it was my next purchase (download only because Nils CDs are hard to come by at a decent price in this country). It's polished guitar pop with a lot of soul and a great feel good record. Nils even seems to be spelling it out to the critics in this song...
I'm not Bob Dylan,
But I never miss a beat.
I ain't no philosopher.
I dance in the street!
As for Bruce... reading his autobiography, he cites Nils' early solo records as a big inspiration for the sound of Born To Run. You don't get bigger accolades than that.

Today's lesson? Never trust the reviewers...


  1. Saw him live last year and he was terrific. Great songs, great guitar and some wonderful stories about his time as a young musician who later played on Neil Young's albums and with Springsteen.

    1. I'm envious. Although I've seen him play live a number of times as part of the E Street Band, I'd love to see him solo.


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