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Janey Needs a Shooter!


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1 hour ago, Jertucky said:

I mean, I could point you to the previous posts that provide a positive (I now think you mean positive as in a “pro” reason, not as in a song message) reason for including it on the album. But I’ll just restate it here: It’s a damn good song that tells a great story on an album about his relationship with his current and past band members. It (along with the two others) provides not just a nod to the old days but actual proof of what he used to do back when he started that he doesn’t really do anymore. I mean, the album is 1/4 these old songs. 
Again, I’ve already said what is great about the lyrics but I will repeat it. They tell a wild story that takes you on a journey, leaves you exhausted at the end of it, then makes you want to hear it again. Not so different from Jungleland, which isn’t exactly made up of upstanding citizens. It’s not nearly as good as Jungleland, but has a similar epic journey.

Also, look at all the different character analyses that have shown up in this thread. We’ve got a stalker, a gynecologist, a crooked cop, pedophiles, etc...... all out of one song. That is a well written song. 

For you the lyrics tell a wild story but you don't explain how. I've explained why they don't work for me: can you explain what it is about the lyrics that you enjoy hearing? (Not about the musical treatment they've been given: the lyrics themselves.)

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3 minutes ago, JoleBlonAlba said:

For you the lyrics tell a wild story but you don't explain how. I've explained why they don't work for me: can you explain what it is about the lyrics that you enjoy hearing? (Not about the musical treatment they've been given: the lyrics themselves.)

A priest, a doctor, and a cop all having some degree of an intimate relationship with the same woman along with the songs narrator. That’s pretty wild in my world. Now you may living the swinging lifestyle where these things are the norm, I don’t know. In that case, I guess you might view If I Should Fall Behind as wild lyrics. But in my simple, monogamous,  married life, Janey is lyrically wild. 

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29 minutes ago, JRL84 said:

I think Janey has some personal responsibility.  She is likely an adult (just because she's small in stature doesn't mean she's a child, I think it's a leap to think this song is about a child)  I'm not "victim blaming" her but as a likely adult she is an individual and she can think and make choices for herself.  She's not responsible for their actions they certainly are.  Just because they should be treating her professionally doesn't mean they will.  There are people who do bad things in all walks of life unfortunately. 

We don't even know these men are doing anything wrong in the first place though.  This is all the opinion of the narrator who has others have said could have  skewed view of reality due to his own jealousy or possible insecurities. 

Ultimately, there are many different ways you can interpret this song and the lyrics.  If you choose to view them as disturbing and distasteful I think you're adding that narrative into it when it isn't necessarily there.

It's just as likely that Janey isn't an adult, of course, and a small adult would still be vulnerable to predatory attentions from people with professional stature and community clout behind them, like the doctor, priest and cop in any era.

The narrator may not be reliable and may be very disturbed: these are disturbing lyrics, given a triumphal musical treatment as the song concludes - I wonder at them being enthused over as I honestly can't see any reason for taking pleasure in them. They genuinely present as disturbing and distasteful. That opening line is ugly, the rest of the verse doesn't improve matters, and the subsequent verses don't make anything any better. Words about a female being used or being presented as an object  - not something entertaining for me.

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6 minutes ago, Jertucky said:

A priest, a doctor, and a cop all having some degree of an intimate relationship with the same woman along with the songs narrator. That’s pretty wild in my world. Now you may living the swinging lifestyle where these things are the norm, I don’t know. In that case, I guess you might view If I Should Fall Behind as wild lyrics. But in my simple, monogamous,  married life, Janey is lyrically wild. 

Is it just the contrast with your more sober world that you find wild and exciting? My simple, monogamous married life doesn't make me find such lyrics appealing simply because I'm viewing it from the perspective of that 'same woman': what do you think she's getting from these intimate relationships? What do you think the male characters are getting from these intimate relationships?

What makes you think she's involved in these intimate relationships by choice? Do you really think Janey is simply 'living the swinging lifestyle', when she's turned down the doctor, hidden from the cop, and sought something from the priest by offering a 'quid pro quo' for his interest in her? Even though the narrator may be unreliable, do these scenarios really speak to you about Janey being a swinger? 

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58 minutes ago, JoleBlonAlba said:

Is it just the contrast with your more sober world that you find wild and exciting? My simple, monogamous married life doesn't make me find such lyrics appealing simply because I'm viewing it from the perspective of that 'same woman': what do you think she's getting from these intimate relationships? What do you think the male characters are getting from these intimate relationships?

What makes you think she's involved in these intimate relationships by choice? Do you really think Janey is simply 'living the swinging lifestyle', when she's turned down the doctor, hidden from the cop, and sought something from the priest by offering a 'quid pro quo' for his interest in her? Even though the narrator may be unreliable, do these scenarios really speak to you about Janey being a swinger? 

No, it’s not just my sober world that finds the lyrics wild and exciting (did I even say it was exciting?). You’ve just explained why the song has wild lyrics. In your own response. I never said Janey is a swinger, I said you may be. And more power (and antibiotics) to you if you are. I’m not making judgements upon these people nor am I trying to say I know what the real deal is with these fake characters. You think your take is right? Great, go with it. You may be right. I may also be right, as may the 50 other interpretations of the song that are in this thread. That’s how you can tell it’s a great lyric. It’s piqued the interest of many in here, quite possibly nobody more so than you. 
Do you like Thunder Road? Where the guy tells the girl “you ain’t a beauty but hey, you’re alright”? I mean that’s pretty scummy, but it makes up part of a great story. How about Hungry Heart where the guy goes out for a ride and ditches his entire family? Another scumbag, but a fun pop song at the same time. I won’t even get into Reno. I mean, they’re just stories. No different from a book or a movie. Just a guy telling a story. 

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It’s just fantastic to finally get this amazing song in perfect quality. I’ve hoped for this since I first heard the outtake on a bootleg in the 80s. 
Really like the lyrics. Moody, dark, mystic. Can’t find anything wrong or very offensive there. Only «problem» I have with the new version is it’s missing a badass guitarsolo from Bruce. That would raise my 9 to a 10/10 track.

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5 hours ago, garcoo said:

I have really enjoyed this discussion. The debate is good and is done in a mature, constructive way, led by JoleBlonAlba 

Here is a verse from an earlier version. Does it confirm or question thoughts based on the last version.

Janey loved a mechanic who owned a gas station down on Route 9
Well she took him to bed and I beat my head on his gas tanks and bled all over his tires
And then he smashed my car with his big tow bar. I got out and asked him why
He said “Cause with her it’s either you or me, and it’s gonna be me”
And I watched Janey silently stand by

I love that  !

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2 hours ago, procdoc said:

People are being very over the top about a bloody song. Chill out 

I'm with you.

Just enjoy the music

Imamge what its going to be like when we get to the Nebraska box set :lol:

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2 hours ago, Jertucky said:

No, it’s not just my sober world that finds the lyrics wild and exciting (did I even say it was exciting?). You’ve just explained why the song has wild lyrics. In your own response. I never said Janey is a swinger, I said you may be. And more power (and antibiotics) to you if you are. I’m not making judgements upon these people nor am I trying to say I know what the real deal is with these fake characters. You think your take is right? Great, go with it. You may be right. I may also be right, as may the 50 other interpretations of the song that are in this thread. That’s how you can tell it’s a great lyric. It’s piqued the interest of many in here, quite possibly nobody more so than you. 
Do you like Thunder Road? Where the guy tells the girl “you ain’t a beauty but hey, you’re alright”? I mean that’s pretty scummy, but it makes up part of a great story. How about Hungry Heart where the guy goes out for a ride and ditches his entire family? Another scumbag, but a fun pop song at the same time. I won’t even get into Reno. I mean, they’re just stories. No different from a book or a movie. Just a guy telling a story. 

I do appreciate that they are stories in song form, thank you, but I'm trying to get to the gist of why the 'Janey Needs a Shooter' song lyrics are the ones you're so keen to defend in this thread without addressing what is actually depicted in those lyrics. Do you mean 'feral' when you say 'wild', perhaps, rather than 'crazy'?

You already know that I don't like the lyrics, and all I've done is try to explain my dislike for the benefit of the posters who asked me to do so by raising questions for me to answer. 

It seems to me that the appeal of this song is actually the sound of the band and the performance by the E Street Band, which is what Bruce himself liked, so I suspect that different lyrics would have been as well received by the posters cheering it on as these current lyrics. If you can put forward a case defending the actual content of the song lyrics, just as I put forward one criticising it, I'm sure it would be an interesting read.

Please note that it doesn't help when you (edited stray 'to') seek to deflect attention from the song lyrics by being personal and rather rudely suggesting I might be a swinger. I've already pointed out that I'm not so Play the ball, not the (wo)man!

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On 10/28/2020 at 3:59 PM, NorthSideJimmy said:

Jesus. The Lake has become snowflaky. Worrying about possibly non PC lyrics written 50 years ago.

Rip up all Shakespeare  plays. A bit anti-semititic some of them

I'm okay with a song being written in 1972 having lyrics that don't age well. But I do question the wisdom of putting that song on a new studio album in 2020. With that in mind, I think Janey and Song for Orphans might have made more sense to release on Tracks 2, where they would have been received in a more archival light.

I'm not sure what 22 year old Bruce meant with: 

"The confederacy's in my name now/The hounds are held at bay
The axis needs a stronger arm/Do you feel your muscles play"

but these are lines that simply don't sound great being released in 2020 by a liberal American artist.

On the flipside, these songs sound a lot better when they are rerecorded in full with the modern ESB than when he adds some modern touches to an decades old recording. 

 

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1 hour ago, JoleBlonAlba said:

I do appreciate that they are stories in song form, thank you, but I'm trying to get to the gist of why the 'Janey Needs a Shooter' song lyrics are the ones you're so keen to defend in this thread without addressing what is actually depicted in those lyrics. Do you mean 'feral' when you say 'wild', perhaps, rather than 'crazy'?

You already know that I don't like the lyrics, and all I've done is try to explain my dislike for the benefit of the posters who asked me to do so by raising questions for me to answer. 

It seems to me that the appeal of this song is actually the sound of the band and the performance by the E Street Band, which is what Bruce himself liked, so I suspect that different lyrics would have been as well received by the posters cheering it on as these current lyrics. If you can put forward a case defending the actual content of the song lyrics, just as I put forward one criticising it, I'm sure it would be an interesting read.

Please note that it doesn't help when you (edited stray 'to') seek to deflect attention from the song lyrics by being personal and rather rudely suggesting I might be a swinger. I've already pointed out that I'm not so Play the ball, not the (wo)man!

I mean, what an absolutely idiotic premise you start this post with. First off, I’m not defending anything. It’s a song. It doesn’t need defending. It’s somebody’s vision of a make believe situation created in his mind. My opinion is that I really like the song. 

But to take that opening paragraph further, you are wondering why I chose this thread titled, “Janey Needs a Shooter!”, to be so “keen to defend” the song called Janey Needs a Shooter? I’m going to leave that one to your imagination to figure out. I don’t want to give away all of the secrets. Why would I mean crazy when I say wild? Or feral? I said wild, I meant wild. It seems to me that you are looking for me to say a specific thing that I am probably not going to say because we seem to have different approaches to listening to music (I like to listen to music, you seem to like to listen to lyrics to make some sort of a judgement upon it). 

 

The rest of your post is nonsense that I’ve already answered about the song. Now, you don’t like the answers but they are answers nonetheless. I’m not deflecting anything. You are simply not comprehending.  

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5 hours ago, JoleBlonAlba said:

The narrator may not be reliable and may be very disturbed: these are disturbing lyrics, given a triumphal musical treatment as the song concludes - I wonder at them being enthused over as I honestly can't see any reason for taking pleasure in them. They genuinely present as disturbing and distasteful.

Maybe the reason is similar to how people find pleasure in watching horror movies, or reading crime fiction?

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I was challenged to "Define questionable", so I did. You don't appear to be able or willing to "Define great" in the context of these song lyrics. Still, if "I really like the song" is the best you can do, that will have to suffice.

It is a pity that you choose to persist in "Play the player, not the ball" deflection activity rather than endeavour to debate and support your liking of these song lyrics. Bearing in mind Bruce encourages us "Listen to the lyrics", listening to the lyrics is part and parcel of listening to Bruce Springsteen for me, and it is why the lyrics are printed out for our benefit (albeit usually with a sprinkling of errors). If they matter enough to you to keep responding, then it isn't mistaken of me to think there's a debate to be had, and my comprehension skills are pretty good if you want to get into the nitty gritty of these lyrics. If you want only to be dismissive, however, then feel free to scroll on by my posts. I won't be offended.

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29 minutes ago, JoleBlonAlba said:

I was challenged to "Define questionable", so I did. You don't appear to be able or willing to "Define great" in the context of these song lyrics. Still, if "I really like the song" is the best you can do, that will have to suffice.

It is a pity that you choose to persist in "Play the player, not the ball" deflection activity rather than endeavour to debate and support your liking of these song lyrics. Bearing in mind Bruce encourages us "Listen to the lyrics", listening to the lyrics is part and parcel of listening to Bruce Springsteen for me, and it is why the lyrics are printed out for our benefit (albeit usually with a sprinkling of errors). If they matter enough to you to keep responding, then it isn't mistaken of me to think there's a debate to be had, and my comprehension skills are pretty good if you want to get into the nitty gritty of these lyrics. If you want only to be dismissive, however, then feel free to scroll on by my posts. I won't be offended.

Again, if you can’t see how I have defined my appreciation of this song you are not comprehending it. I like the wordy, wild writing style he used to have. I love hearing it again. I like the sound of the song along with the wild, wordy style he wrote it with. I’m not sure what more you want than that. In fact, I’m pretty sure you don’t know what else you want to hear. 

Do you dislike Hungry Heart because of the despicable nature of the featured character? Are you offended by all of the less than upstanding characters in Bruce’s songs? It’s an interesting position to take if so and certainly limits the songs of his you can listen to.

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8 hours ago, Jertucky said:

Again, if you can’t see how I have defined my appreciation of this song you are not comprehending it. I like the wordy, wild writing style he used to have. I love hearing it again. I like the sound of the song along with the wild, wordy style he wrote it with. I’m not sure what more you want than that. In fact, I’m pretty sure you don’t know what else you want to hear. 

Do you dislike Hungry Heart because of the despicable nature of the featured character? Are you offended by all of the less than upstanding characters in Bruce’s songs? It’s an interesting position to take if so and certainly limits the songs of his you can listen to.

As an experiment, I drafted this response before seeing yours, because your 'debating style' so far has been pretty obvious and predictable: read only the first part of what has been written in any sentence and take a hasty swing at rebuffing it, resorting to ad hominem smears and sneers coupled with dismissive terms.

Examples 
1) I wrote "I'm trying to get to the gist of why the 'Janey Needs a Shooter' song lyrics are the ones you're so keen to
defend in this thread *without addressing what is actually depicted in those lyrics*", and you took a swing at the first
part and ignored the second (my emphasis added to show this).
2) I wrote "In your opinion "it's a damn good song"; *in my opinion "it's a damn good tune and great band performance
musically that is badly let down by the choice of lyrics"*", and you took a hasty swing at the first part and ignored the
second. And you've complained about *my* comprehension skills! 

The written language can be an imprecise tool, as we saw when you preferred "Pro" rather than "Positive", so in the interests of clarity I've sought to define what precisely you mean by 'wild lyrics', but other than decrying the 'wild' synonyms 'excited', 'crazy' and 'feral', no clarification has been provided. Stating "'wild' means 'wild'" does not advance or
enhance your argument by one iota. We can presume that Bruce didn't go out with a net and catch these lyrics running free in the wilderness, so that's an alternative definition of 'wild' that can be ruled out!

While there's nothing wrong in being unable or unwilling to construct a coherent argument for why you like these song
lyrics, it is the case that a successful debate can only be had if both parties are willing to make the attempt and support it with examples.
Restating that it is a "great" song, "a damn good song", and that "I really like the song" is a legitimate point, of course,
but a thin argument ensues if that is as far as your point goes.

Although you say you like this song because you like the older Bruce song style, these song lyrics don't fit with the usual
longer old Bruce songs, and this is definitely the poorest effort of the three 1970s lyrics included on "Letter To You",
as other posters have said before me. I suggest it is in part because these lyrics lie awkwardly between the free-flowing,
rhyming-dictionary-deploying lyrical exuberance of his young Dylan-inspired song format  (the 'wild', perhaps?) and the
tauter, disciplined, more carefully constructed and polished later Landau-influenced song format. Thia song has been
reworked and recorded as a truncated hybridised effort, so the lyrics as presented fall between these two stools. The desire to maintain the rhymes has contorted the word order clumsily in crucial places, adversely impacting the sense in, for example, "In the pages of his bible he holds from what Janey he hides"; there's no free-running bowling along in these lyrics and no careful construction and polishing either. 

So I suggest again, as I've done before, that all of this song's success is supplied wholly by the musical arrangement
and the generous efforts of the E Street Band, ie by the Sound and not the contents of the lyrics. I maintain that the result
would have been the same had Other more carefully constructed lyrics been used Because the Sound of the musical arrangement married to the band's heroic work would still do the heavy-lifting and carry the song. If you disagree, then why not cite the specific lyrics used that work for you?

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2 hours ago, JoleBlonAlba said:

As an experiment, I drafted this response before seeing yours, because your 'debating style' so far has been pretty obvious and predictable: read only the first part of what has been written in any sentence and take a hasty swing at rebuffing it, resorting to ad hominem smears and sneers coupled with dismissive terms.

Examples 
1) I wrote "I'm trying to get to the gist of why the 'Janey Needs a Shooter' song lyrics are the ones you're so keen to
defend in this thread *without addressing what is actually depicted in those lyrics*", and you took a swing at the first
part and ignored the second (my emphasis added to show this).
2) I wrote "In your opinion "it's a damn good song"; *in my opinion "it's a damn good tune and great band performance
musically that is badly let down by the choice of lyrics"*", and you took a hasty swing at the first part and ignored the
second. And you've complained about *my* comprehension skills! 

The written language can be an imprecise tool, as we saw when you preferred "Pro" rather than "Positive", so in the interests of clarity I've sought to define what precisely you mean by 'wild lyrics', but other than decrying the 'wild' synonyms 'excited', 'crazy' and 'feral', no clarification has been provided. Stating "'wild' means 'wild'" does not advance or
enhance your argument by one iota. We can presume that Bruce didn't go out with a net and catch these lyrics running free in the wilderness, so that's an alternative definition of 'wild' that can be ruled out!

While there's nothing wrong in being unable or unwilling to construct a coherent argument for why you like these song
lyrics, it is the case that a successful debate can only be had if both parties are willing to make the attempt and support it with examples.
Restating that it is a "great" song, "a damn good song", and that "I really like the song" is a legitimate point, of course,
but a thin argument ensues if that is as far as your point goes.

Although you say you like this song because you like the older Bruce song style, these song lyrics don't fit with the usual
longer old Bruce songs, and this is definitely the poorest effort of the three 1970s lyrics included on "Letter To You",
as other posters have said before me. I suggest it is in part because these lyrics lie awkwardly between the free-flowing,
rhyming-dictionary-deploying lyrical exuberance of his young Dylan-inspired song format  (the 'wild', perhaps?) and the
tauter, disciplined, more carefully constructed and polished later Landau-influenced song format. Thia song has been
reworked and recorded as a truncated hybridised effort, so the lyrics as presented fall between these two stools. The desire to maintain the rhymes has contorted the word order clumsily in crucial places, adversely impacting the sense in, for example, "In the pages of his bible he holds from what Janey he hides"; there's no free-running bowling along in these lyrics and no careful construction and polishing either. 

So I suggest again, as I've done before, that all of this song's success is supplied wholly by the musical arrangement
and the generous efforts of the E Street Band, ie by the Sound and not the contents of the lyrics. I maintain that the result
would have been the same had Other more carefully constructed lyrics been used Because the Sound of the musical arrangement married to the band's heroic work would still do the heavy-lifting and carry the song. If you disagree, then why not cite the specific lyrics used that work for you?

Yikes! I got about three chapters into this response before I stopped reading. I will respond to where I stopped because you seem to be confused. I am not debating. You are, for some reason, but I am simply offering up an opinion. You are debating the wind and not doing well. Where I stopped was you being unable to grasp what wild means. I’m not going to parse every post I make so you can better understand it’s meaning. I would venture to guess that every other person that has read this exchange (and I would imagine most have stopped because it’s tiresome) had the basic idea of what I meant when I used the term wild. 

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2 hours ago, JoleBlonAlba said:

As an experiment, I drafted this response before seeing yours, because your 'debating style' so far has been pretty obvious and predictable: read only the first part of what has been written in any sentence and take a hasty swing at rebuffing it, resorting to ad hominem smears and sneers coupled with dismissive terms.

Spot on - that's exactly what he does, which is why any attempt to converse with him is futile.

And I agree with everything else you said about the lyrics and the music.

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And, again, there's no surprise, but no-one can say that I didn't do my bit to debate or discuss the lyrics of "Janey Needs a Shooter". I didn't like them at the start and I still don't.

There's certainly nothing wrong with anyone liking what they like and not wanting to examine why or not being able to explain why, just as the converse is true; nevertheless, I responded to a poster's fairly peremptory demand that I "Define questionable" and, rather than shrug it off or name-call or complain, I've been doing so ever since, despite finding these lyrics decidedly unpleasant. 

By way of a contrast and to push the unpleasant lyrics out of my head, I copied down the following lovely sentiment from modern Bruce (using the subtitles on the documentary), where he was talking about writing for the E Street Band:

"I dwell in a house of a thousand dreams. What happens in this house matters to me. We've not been made perfect by God but here I try to speak in the voice of my better angels. We have been given the tools and the property of the soul to be attended to and accountable for. And that takes work. Work that we might build on the principles of love, liberty, fraternity, ancient ideas that still form the basis for a good life and a humane society. What happens in this house matters. So, brothers and sisters, wherever you are ... let's light up this house." (House of a Thousand Guitars follows.)

That's the Bruce I admire.

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12 minutes ago, JoleBlonAlba said:

And, again, there's no surprise, but no-one can say that I didn't do my bit to debate or discuss the lyrics of "Janey Needs a Shooter". I didn't like them at the start and I still don't.

There's certainly nothing wrong with anyone liking what they like and not wanting to examine why or not being able to explain why, just as the converse is true; nevertheless, I responded to a poster's fairly peremptory demand that I "Define questionable" and, rather than shrug it off or name-call or complain, I've been doing so ever since, despite finding these lyrics decidedly unpleasant. 

By way of a contrast and to push the unpleasant lyrics out of my head, I copied down the following lovely sentiment from modern Bruce (using the subtitles on the documentary), where he was talking about writing for the E Street Band:

"I dwell in a house of a thousand dreams. What happens in this house matters to me. We've not been made perfect by God but here I try to speak in the voice of my better angels. We have been given the tools and the property of the soul to be attended to and accountable for. And that takes work. Work that we might build on the principles of love, liberty, fraternity, ancient ideas that still form the basis for a good life and a humane society. What happens in this house matters. So, brothers and sisters, wherever you are ... let's light up this house." (House of a Thousand Guitars follows.)

That's the Bruce I admire.

You only appreciate one part of Bruce’s work? That’s your prerogative, but you’re missing out on a whole hell of a lot of great stuff.

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