Where The Four Winds Blow (Godfatherecords G.R. 191)
The Agora, Cleveland, OH, USA – June 3, 1974
Spirit In The Night, The E Street Shuffle, 4th Of July, Asbury Park (Sandy), You Never Can Tell, Tokyo [“And The Band Played”], Rosalita (Come Out Tonight), Let The Four Winds Blow [incorporating I’m Ready]
Bonus track: The Bottom Line, New York, NY, USA, 14 July 1974 (early show) – Kitty’s Back
The source of this show is a WMMS-FM broadcast dating from 5 June 1974, two days after the performance. The complete concert was about 100 minutes long but the broadcast version lasted for only an hour. There seems to be no record of the rest of the setlist, nor any certainty that these songs survive on tape. The show first appeared on LP as And The Band Played (Swingin’ Pig) and there was also a Japanese release, Agora Cleveland 1974 (UFO). The Swingin’ Pig version additionally appeared on CD along with And The E Street Band Played (Scorpio). There was also a CD-R release, You Never Can Tell (Piggham). Godfather’s version makes the show readily available once more.
The concert opens with swirling keyboards and saxophone, soon augmented by Ernest ‘Boom’ Carter’s drums. This leads into an atmospheric version of Spirit in The Night, the opening of which is marred somewhat by some feedback. The E Street Shuffle is the slow version familiar from other shows of the time but, unusually, is not prefaced by the lengthy mythologised story of Springsteen’s first meeting with Clarence Clemons. 4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy) gives Garry Tallent and Danny Federici the chance to shine on tuba and accordion respectively (a feature of performances from this period) and the song is further enhanced by David Sancious’ delicate piano playing.
The first cover version arrives with a rocking rendition of Chuck Berry’s You Never Can Tell, which features an accordion solo by Federici. It is also noteworthy for being Springsteen’s first public performance of the song. It is therefore ironic that the next song is making what I believe to be its last ever appearance in a live set. Tokyo (incorrectly listed as And The Band Played) is given an excellent performance, again featuring Federici’s accordion.
The final three songs presumably constituted the finale/encore. Rosalita, as is often the case, includes the band introduction but also, unusually, a drum solo by Carter. The show ends with a great version of Fats Domino’s Where The Four Winds Blow which features saxophone, piano and guitar solos. It also incorporates an exuberant performance (not listed on the CD sleeve) of another Domino song, I’m Ready, which, like You Never Can Tell, is making its first appearance.
Although this is not the whole show, whoever edited it down to 60 minutes did a fine job of capturing the essential elements of a Springsteen show of this era, featuring a Springsteen song in a different arrangement (The E Street Shuffle), an unrecorded Springsteen original (Tokyo) and excellent cover versions. Springsteen’s ability to approach covers with simultaneous respect and irreverence, based simply on his own love for the songs, comes across here. As he said, “We don’t play no oldies. They may be older songs, but they’re not nostalgic.” This CD also offers a rare chance to experience a show featuring Carter on drums. As Dave Marsh wrote in his book Born To Run, “The live show really took off after drummer Ernest ‘Boom’ Carter replaced Vini Lopez.”
The sound of this Godfather release is excellent, being in full and clear stereo. There is also the nice bonus of a superb fourteen-minute rendition of Kitty’s Back, featuring an extended solo from Sancious, also in excellent sound quality. This also features as one of the bonus tracks on the Crystal Cat Roxy Theatre Night CD reviewed by me earlier, but the sound quality of the Godfather version is even better. The CD comes in Godfather’s usual tri-fold sleeve featuring photographs from the era (though they do include one from the sessions which produced the back cover shot from The Wild, The Innocent & The E Street Shuffle, which therefore includes Lopez rather than Carter). Although it cannot be claimed that this is an essential show to own (especially as it is incomplete), Godfather have done a fine job with it and, overall, this is a very desirable release