Posts Tagged ‘Clarence Clemons’

‘You Better Start Savin’ Up . . .’

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

Quiet times here in the past few days, as the Texas Gal buried her nose in her textbooks and I stayed out of the way. She’s studying employment law and supervisory management this quarter, and although I’ll help where I can – I routinely review and edit papers quite gladly – I’ll have little to add to the conversation. (That’s not always been the case as she heads toward her paralegal degree; her several courses in constitutional law brought us some truly fascinating discussions.)

Anyway, as she studied, I did the minimum required housework and some cooking, watched a lot of football and continued to fight off a sinus infection that’s perplexing both me and Dr. Julie. As a result, I’ve done even less prep work for a post than my usual minimum. But something caught my eye Sunday as I read Jon Bream’s review at the Minneapolis Star Tribune website of Sunday night’s concert in St. Paul by Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band.

Bream noted that a sign in the audience requested the band play “Savin’ Up,” a tune Springsteen wrote for the first album recorded by the now-departed Clarence Clemons, an album titled Rescue, credited to Clarence Clemons & The Red Bank Rockers. Springsteen quickly taught the basics of the song to the band, the background singers and the horn section and then let loose a pretty darned good performance on the crowd at the Xcel Energy Center.

After listening to the live version by Bruce and the gang, I went digging, pretty sure I had Rescue. And I found it in the stack of LPs waiting to be ripped to mp3. But something else nagged at me, so I ran a search through the 65,000 mp3s. And there was “Savin’ Up,” collected as one of twenty-eight tracks on the 1997 two-CD set titled One Step Up/Two Steps Back: The Songs of Bruce Springsteen. And a quick search at YouTube saved me some time.

Personnel on the Clemons’ version of “Savin’ Up” are: Clarence Clemons, saxophone and background vocals; John “J.T.” Bowen, lead vocals; David Landau, guitars; Bruce Springsteen, rhythm guitar; Ralph Schuckett, keyboard; John Siegler, bass; and Wells Kelly, drums.

Sorrow On The Edge Of Town

Tuesday, June 21st, 2011

From the time a little more than a week ago when I heard that Clarence Clemons, saxophone player and the heart of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band, had sustained a stroke, I expected worse news to come. Reports last week that he’d improved and was stable were welcome. But still, I wondered.

So it wasn’t a horrible surprise Saturday evening when I saw the first link shared on Facebook of a news report detailing the death of the man Springsteen – and his fans – called the Big Man. I read Monday at a number of news and music sites that the Stone Pony – the iconic night spot in Asbury Park, New Jersey, where Springsteen, Clemons and the rest frequently played – became a gathering place on Sunday for mourners on the Jersey Shore.

One of those pieces was by Angie Sugrim, who covers Asbury Park for the blog The Vinyl District. She, as did many, reminded readers of a night in 1971:

“And of course, on a dark and rainy night, Clemons stopped in on a show that young Bruce was playing, the door of the venue literally blown off by the storm that evening as Clarence opened it to enter. His hulking figure and dark visage, framed by the freshly stripped doorway immediately drew the band’s attention. The rest, as they say, is history.”

Well, I – like the vast majority of the Big Man’s fans – could not get to Asbury Park Saturday evening or Sunday. So where did I go? Facebook. For most of Saturday evening, the Springsteen and Clemons fans among those who are on my list of friends shared memories and posted links, taking us to news reports and to YouTube videos of Clemons’ performances with and without Springsteen and the E Street Band. (The evening reinforced a conclusion I’ve drawn over the past year, one that others have come to as well: Facebook has become the town square of the Internet.)

I said above that Clemons’ death wasn’t a horrible surprise, and it wasn’t. Still, it was a horrible piece of news. And for the second time in my life, I wept at the death of a favorite performer. The first was John Lennon. I’m not sure what conclusions to draw from that, if there are any to draw at all. I didn’t ponder anything Saturday evening. What I did was recall the two times I’d seen Clemons in concert, both in St. Paul: In 1989 when he was a member of Ringo Starr’s first All-Starr Band and in 2009, when Springsteen and the E Street Band were touring.

As the links to Springsteen and Clemons videos multiplied on Facebook, I went and put together my own simple video and posted the link at Facebook. And I dried my tears and joined the grieving crowd gathering in the virtual town square.