Bruce Springsteen – TOP56-songs: 42 – Lost in the FloodBruce Springsteen – TOP56-biisit: 42 – Lost in the Flood

From the album Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J. (1973).

Lost in the Flood wells from Springsteen’s debut album. It’s the first song in which he touches on the topic of war veterans, in this one Vietnam ones. It’s a theme about which Bruce has since sang many times.

On this song’s E Street Band my focus often fastens on the drummer: sitting on the seat is Vini “Mad Dog” Lopez. His playing style is recognizable and differs from the more familiar style of Max Weinberg’s. He has a more jazzy feel and it fits the songs of the first record nicely. Lost in the Flood is, however, driven by David Sancious’ piano and organ.

There’s a lot of lyrics. “Ragamuffin gunner” means a shabby man coming home from a war. On the first verse Springsteen describes the gunner’s hometown in which happens different kind of things that your main character doesn’t seem to fully realize.

The ragamuffin gunner is returnin’ home like a hungry runaway
He walks through town all alone
He must be from the fort he hears the high school girls say
His countryside’s burnin’ with wolfman fairies dressed in drag for homicide
The hit and run, plead sanctuary, ’neath a holy stone they hide
They’re breakin’ beams and crosses with a spastic’s reelin’ perfection
nuns run bald through Vatican halls pregnant, pleadin’ immaculate conception
And everybody’s wrecked on Main Street from drinking unholy blood
Sticker smiles sweet as gunner breathes deep, his ankles caked in mud
And I said ”Hey, gunner man, that’s quicksand, that’s quicksand that ain’t mud
Have you thrown your senses to the war or did you lose them in the flood?”

 The describing of events continues on the second verse with a quiet accompaniment until the band comes in halfway through. A new character is described here as well called Jimmy the Saint. In the end things come to no good and the cold truth is realized via bloodshed.

That pure American brother, dull-eyed and empty-faced
races Sundays in Jersey in a Chevy stock super eight
He rides ’er low on the hip, on the side he’s got Bound For Glory in red, white and blue flash paint
He leans on the hood telling racing stories, the kids call him Jimmy The Saint
Well the blaze and noise boy, he’s gunnin’ that bitch loaded to blastin’ point
He rides head first into a hurricane and disappears into a point
And there’s nothin’ left but some blood where the body fell
That is, nothin’ left that you could sell
just junk all across the horizon, a real highwayman’s farewell
And he said ”Hey kid, you think that’s oil? Man, that ain’t oil that’s blood”
I wonder what he was thinking when he hit that storm
Or was he just lost in the flood?

The third verse keeps on going right from where the second left, on the 8th street. ”Everything stops, you hear five quick shots, the cops come up for air” starts the last scene in which shots are changed in a very 70s-like, rugged world view. We also find out that the kid the police are shooting is screaming something in Spanish: this info gives us a lot of thoughts about the background of this happening. ”I wonder what they were gettin’ into, or were they just lost in the flood?”; it’s like the narrator’s asking whether they knew where they we’re going to?

Eighth Avenue sailors in satin shirts whisper in the air
Some storefront incarnation of Maria, she’s puttin’ on me the stare
and Bronx’s best apostle stands with his hand on his own hardware
Everything stops, you hear five, quick shots, the cops come up for air

And now the whiz-bang gang from uptown, they’re shootin’ up the street
And that cat from the Bronx starts lettin’ loose
but he gets blown right off his feet
And some kid comes blastin’ round the corner but a cop puts him right away
He lays on the street holding his leg screaming something in Spanish
Still breathing when I walked away
And somebody said ”Hey man did you see that? His body hit the street with such a beautiful thud”
I wonder what the dude was sayin’ or was he just lost in the flood?
Hey man, did you see that, those poor cats are sure messed up
I wonder what they were gettin’ into, or were they just lost in the flood?

For me this song opened up via the DVD filmed in Hammersmith Odeon, London. The gig recorded was the first time Springsteen visited Europe and was held up in the vaults for 30 years until it was released in 2005 with an anniversary edition of Born to Run. The version can be found below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PTF4ojbGj1c

Lost in the Flood was gone a long time from the E Street Band’s gig repertoire until it came back in 1999. The version played in the 2000s has brought some muscle around the bare bones of the studio version: there’s more overdrive on the guitars and the heavy theme has gotten a fitting arrangement. This is worth checking out!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aHDuOioTwxAAlbumilta Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J. (1973).

Springsteenin levytysuran debyytiltä kumpuaa Lost in the Flood. Ensimmäinen sotaveteraaneja, tässä tapauksessa Vietnamin sellaisia, sivuava laulu: teema, josta Bruce on sittemmin laulanut lukuisia kertoja.

Tämän biisin E Street Bandissa soitto kiinnyttyy rumpaliin: penkillä istuu Vini ”Mad Dog” Lopez. Soittotyyli on tunnistettava ja tutummaksi tulleesta Max Weinbergin soitosta poikkeava. Jazz-tunne on selkeämpi ja se sopiikin ensilevyn lauluihin, jotka ovatkin paikkoin vahvastikin jazz-vaikutteisia. Lost in the Floodia kuljettaa kuitenkin vahvimmin David Sanciousin piano sekä vahvasti esillä olevat urut.

Tekstiä on paljon. Kotiinsa palaava ragamuffin gunner” tarkoittaa resuista, sodasta palaavaa tykkimiestä. Ensimmäisessä säkeistössä kuvataan kotikaupunkia, jossa tapahtuu kaikenlaista, josta kaikkea päähenkilömmekään ei oikein tunnu käsittävän.

The ragamuffin gunner is returnin’ home like a hungry runaway
He walks through town all alone
He must be from the fort he hears the high school girls say
His countryside’s burnin’ with wolfman fairies dressed in drag for homicide
The hit and run, plead sanctuary, ’neath a holy stone they hide
They’re breakin’ beams and crosses with a spastic’s reelin’ perfection
nuns run bald through Vatican halls pregnant, pleadin’ immaculate conception
And everybody’s wrecked on Main Street from drinking unholy blood
Sticker smiles sweet as gunner breathes deep, his ankles caked in mud
And I said ”Hey, gunner man, that’s quicksand, that’s quicksand that ain’t mud
Have you thrown your senses to the war or did you lose them in the flood?”

 Tapahtumakuvaus jatkuu toisessa säkeistössä edelleen hiljaisella säestyksellä kunnes bändi tulee mukaan puolessa välissä. Tässä säkeistössä esitellään myös uusi hahmo, joka saa nimen Jimmy the Saint. Lopulta käy kuitenkin huonosti ja kylmä totuus tulee ilmi verenvuodatuksen muodossa.

That pure American brother, dull-eyed and empty-faced
races Sundays in Jersey in a Chevy stock super eight
He rides ’er low on the hip, on the side he’s got Bound For Glory in red, white and blue flash paint
He leans on the hood telling racing stories, the kids call him Jimmy The Saint
Well the blaze and noise boy, he’s gunnin’ that bitch loaded to blastin’ point
He rides head first into a hurricane and disappears into a point
And there’s nothin’ left but some blood where the body fell
That is, nothin’ left that you could sell
just junk all across the horizon, a real highwayman’s farewell
And he said ”Hey kid, you think that’s oil? Man, that ain’t oil that’s blood”
I wonder what he was thinking when he hit that storm
Or was he just lost in the flood?

Kolmas säkeistö jatkaa suoraan siitä mihin toinen jäi, 8. kadulta. ”Everything stops, you hear five quick shots, the cops come up for air” ikäänkuin käynnistää viimeisen kohtauksen jossa vaihdetaan laukauksia 70-luvun karussa maailmankuvassa. Selviää myös, että poika jota poliisit ampuvat huutaa jotain espanjaksi: tämäkin paljastaa yllättävän paljon taustoja. ”I wonder what they were gettin’ into, or were they just lost in the flood?”; kuin kertoja kysyisi, että tiesivätkö he itsekään missä mennään?

Eighth Avenue sailors in satin shirts whisper in the air
Some storefront incarnation of Maria, she’s puttin’ on me the stare
and Bronx’s best apostle stands with his hand on his own hardware
Everything stops, you hear five, quick shots, the cops come up for air

And now the whiz-bang gang from uptown, they’re shootin’ up the street
And that cat from the Bronx starts lettin’ loose
but he gets blown right off his feet
And some kid comes blastin’ round the corner but a cop puts him right away
He lays on the street holding his leg screaming something in Spanish
Still breathing when I walked away
And somebody said ”Hey man did you see that? His body hit the street with such a beautiful thud”
I wonder what the dude was sayin’ or was he just lost in the flood?
Hey man, did you see that, those poor cats are sure messed up
I wonder what they were gettin’ into, or were they just lost in the flood?

Itselleni tämä laulu avautui Lontoon Hammersmith Odeon-teatterissa taltioidun DVD:n myötä. Kyseinen keikka oli ensimmäinen kerta, kun Springsteen vieraili Euroopassa ja säilyi julkaisemattomana 30 vuotta, kunnes näki päivänvalon vuonna 2005 Born to Run-levyn juhlapainoksen mukana. Tuo versio löytyy alta.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PTF4ojbGj1c

Lost in the Flood oli pitkään poissa E Street Bandin keikkarepertuaarista kunnes palasi vuonna 1999. 2000-luvun versio onkin tuonut laululle huomattavasti lihasta luiden ympärille: säröä on enemmän ja raskas teema on saanut tyylilleen sopivan sovituksen. Tämä kannattaa tarkistaa!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aHDuOioTwxA