Jan 282010

Cover Commissions is a monthly series in which a featured artist produces a special cover for this blog, chosen by blog readers via poll. Any artists interested in participating in a future installment, email me at the address on the right.

During his fall tour, Bruce Springsteen pulled the standard seat-filling trick of playing classic albums in their entirety. Most shows got usual suspects Born to Run, Born in the U.S.A. or Darkness on the Edge of Town, but for the tour’s final night in Buffalo, Springsteen threw a mean left hook, playing his debut Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J. front-to-back for the first tiwme ever. As he said introducing the performance, “”This was the record that took everything from way below zero to…one.”

No, Greetings did not make much of a splash in its 1973 debut. The best legendary music critic Lester Bangs could muster in his tepid Rolling Stone review was, “He’s not the new John Prine.” At the same time, Robert Christgau snidely commented, “It takes real conviction to save ‘But did not heed my urgency’ with ‘Your life was one long emergency.’”

The urgency/emergency couplet comes from album highlight “For You,” either a romantic appeal or a suicide plea, depending on who you ask. It features Springsteen’s early hyper-literate lyrics, like all of “Desolation Row” compressed into four minutes.

And this brings us back to The Broken Chimneys, our Cover Commissions artist way back in August. The newest music creation from author/satirist/songwriter/ghost tour guide Adam Selzer, the Chimneys took on “For You” because of reader vote. After many months of arranging, recording, and overdubbing, the finished product is here. Here’s their description:

The Broken Chimneys spent some time in Milledgeville, GA, a town with about seven prisons, a mental hospital, miles of ghettos, and smokestacks reaching like the arms of God into a beautiful sky of soot and clay. Adam spent a whole summer listening to early Springsteen while he delivered pizza. He’d never heard those first two albums before that year, but fell in loves with the street poetry, the Dr. Seuss-style rhymes about masturbating teenagers and sages of the subway.

But his favorite was “For You.” The Broken Chimneys originally tried to do a punk version, reasoning that most punks have had the experience of loving someone whose “life was one long emergency,” but it never quite came together. So they did a chamber music-ish version, inspired by the piano arrangement on the first Springsteen tape Adam owned – the Bryn Mawr ’75 bootleg.

Download the bootleg that inspired the cover over this way, but not before you listen to the Chimneys’ haunting “For You,” recorded exclusively for Cover Me.

The Broken Chimneys – For You (Bruce Springsteen)

Pick up the Broken Chimneys’ latest album Satan’s Parents Basement, from iTunes, then check them out on the soundtrack for the new book I Kissed a Zombie and I Liked It. Plus, check back here next week for Brady Harris’ November Cover Commissions entry and February’s poll!

This mp3 may be freely shared with the artist’s blessing. Post it on your blog, send it to your friends, tweet it to the world. When you share this however, please include a link to this site. Cover Commissions is a monthly occurrence, and the more attention this draws the more exciting we can make future installments.

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