Jacob’s Ladder runs along a very similar theme to the Phil Collins’ hit, “Jesus He Knows Me”, released in 1992. Basically, we have an ordinary girl running from “a fat man selling salvation in his hand”. It simply tells of the irrelevance of forced, evangelical religion to the ordinary concerns of the working person.
The only other point to make is that this is one of two songs that I can remember at the moment where Bruce actually states a specific location to the story: “… southside Birmingham…” (Presumably Alabama – there’s nothing much southside of Birmingham, England to write home about, apart from the Cadbury’s chocolate factory). The significance of geographical location becomes more significant in a song reviewed in due course. In the meantime, that’s your lot!
Southside in Birmingham, Alabama is an area South of UAB on the crest of Red Mountain. Southside is the most popular bar and club district and is also probably the most liberal area of the city. For Bruce to set his story here seems to make a bit of sense, since the fat man selling his salvation has come to Southside to find all of the drinkers and partiers to preach to and the fan dancer has just come to have a good time. Also, the location goes back to the title of the album.
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October 9 2009