Thinking back to Bruce’s previous albums, there has usually been some kind of “introductory gesture” in the words or music of the opening song on the disc. For example, take Look Out Any Window, with its long electric guitar fade-in. Spider Fingers starts with the gig-like introduction “So nice to be here, with all you good people…” There is also some (beautiful) piano preamble before Harbor Lights.
(Just in case nobody’s noticed, the last five chords of the Harbor Lights piano introduction are almost identical to the last 5 chords of the National Anthem of Wales!) (just one more, increasingly desperate, reason for Bruce to play a European tour).
I digress. My main point here is that there is no introductory gesture, whether your disc starts with Line in the Dust, like my incomplete European version, or with King of the Hill, as on the full U.S. double-disc version. So the quick opening bars of keyboard/guitar on Line in the Dust knocked me back at first – I wasn’t ready for it! However, since then the song has grown on me to the extent that it is now my favourite song on the album, and one of my top 10 all-time Hornsby songs.
Just look at the theme involved – two old friends who shared a lot in common during their early years, now grown apart “an old friend changed, or maybe it was me”. Looking at Si’s survey, with an average age of 28-30, it’s quite likely that many of you out there have gone through a similar experience as described in Line in the Dust. I like the chorus in particular, it seems to capture the uncertainties of the situation: “Hey, wait a minute, what’s that you said? I’m not so sure that I heard you right”. There’s not much more that I can say that’s not already said in the song, except that this theme of interpersonal relations is one which runs right through the album, and represents a new development/maturity in Hornsby’s work.
On the Western Skyline
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August 16 1998