Bruce Springsteen track My City of Ruin

I could probably subtitle this post “It was songs like this that ultimately led me to starting a music blog.”  The year was 2006 and Amazon didn’t have an mp3 store, iTunes was still wobbling around, and the idea that virtually every song, ever recorded, would be available for instant streaming on a mobile phone was unheard of.  2006 is when The World Forgot officially began and it was because of songs like My City of Ruin.  I would occasionally stumble upon standout tracks (or in this case versions of tracks) that were so moving that I simply had to share them.  I was compelled.

For awhile I made do with mix albums, painstakingly burned to CD, and mailed to friends and family.  Eventually that evolved into electronic distribution (via email and now ancient sites like yousendit or zshare).  Finally I settled upon the name The World Forgot, started a blog through Blogspot (back before the name change to Blogger), and the rest constitutes five years of finding songs, feeling compelled, and sharing them online.

On April 16th, 2006, I posted this live recording of My City of Ruin and to this day it is still the definitive version of the song for me.  At that time this version was rare, almost impossible to find.  Now, of course, you can simply order the entire album America: A Tribute to Heroes via Amazon (although curiously it still is not available in any downloadable format).  Here I choose to present it again.  This is the best version, ever recorded, of My City of Ruin and this song remains one of the reasons I have a music blog.

mp3 : Bruce Springsteen – My City of Ruin

(below is the original text from the April 2006 post)

One of the greatest songs Bruce Springsteen ever wrote has been relegated to a simple prayer for 9/11. What’s really unique is that this song, My City of Ruins, was written before the events of 9/11. In fact Springsteen wrote the song looking back on his beloved city of Asbury Park, NJ. It’s the story of a once great place slowly slipping into decay as the people, and the money they had, migrates to other parts of the world. He speaks of empty churches, evoking images of rust and ruin, images of things long since past. It’s quite a change of pace from his more well known tracks such as Glory Days or Born in the USA.

Regardless of how it’s viewed now, how we’ve misinterpreted this song or labeled it as something it is not, it is ultimately a haunting tale. When The Boss sings mournfully “tell me how do I begin again?” you are forced to wonder if anything this far gone could find a new beginning. You want to have the answer to that question, to be able to give him a solution to all these troubles, but in the end you know that all you can do is clasp your hands and pray with him.

As originally recorded for the album “The Rising” this song takes on almost a sick sense of slick production and radio friendly vibe. The version below is the best one available of this song. Coming from the album “America: A Tribute to Heroes” this version is stripped down, filled out with harmonica and a gospel choir, and contains more emotion in the first fifteen seconds than all other versions of this song combined.

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TWF Turns Two with Sufjan Stevens

Well it’s that time of year again. The time where I once again reminisce about all the fun I’ve had blogging here on The World Forgot. It’s been two full years now since this little music blog was launched and I’d like to think that it’s grown up a bit in the intervening time. Now that I’m officially a toddling blog you can expect me to be even more temperamental, demanding, and precocious than ever before. Here’s to hoping that the next two years will prove to be just as much fun as the past two have been.

As I was thinking over what to post to mark this momentous occasion, while also contemplating that my relationship with this blog has now out performed even the longest of my romantic endeavors, I turned once again to the artist that quite literally got me into blogging in the first place. That artist is Sufjan Stevens and two years ago he was on literally every blog that you had ever heard of on at least a monthly basis. It was my interest in exploring his music, and his storytelling {along with a fair amount of other influences}, that led me to start blogging two years ago. And to commemorate this moment I’ve diced up a a small live set that Sufjan preformed for PENultimate Lit in 2007.

mp3 : Sufjan Stevens – Concerning The UFO Sighting Near Highland, IL (Live at PENultimate Lit)
mp3 : Sufjan Stevens – Interlude 01 (Live at PENultimate Lit)
mp3 : Sufjan Stevens – Barn Owl, Night Killer (Live at PENultimate Lit)
mp3 : Sufjan Stevens – Interlude 02 (Live at PENultimate Lit)
mp3 : Sufjan Stevens – The Mistress Witch from Mcclure (Or The Mind That Knows Itself) (Live at PENultimate Lit

This is the entire set he played that day, cut up into individual tracks, and posted in the order they appear in the performance. If you’d care to download the set as one continuous recording you can find that here on PEN American Center’s website. I chose Sufjan for today’s post because of how influential his music has been on how I think and write about music, but also because I’ve blogged about him far more times than any other artist I’ve mentioned here. To check all the posts that include Sufjan Stevens here on The World Forgot simply click here.

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Seven Days of Sufjan Stevens part 7

It has been a wonderful week. This week I’ve met some new friends, reaquainted with old ones, and discovered I haven’t yet heard every single song recorded by Sufjan Stevens. For those of you just dropping by this is the final installment of my current series, Seven Days of Sufjan Stevens. If you’d like to view this entire series on one page you can simply click here and it will be displayed for your viewing pleasure. Also, today is the last day that you can vote for The World Forgot. If you’d like to show some support please leave a comment on this post or simply vote for this blog. On to the music.

This post has literally taken me all day to compile. I’ve been working steadily on the music below for the past seven hours. Yes, seven hours. Granted some of that was uploading time, but most of it was spent editing a large concert file down to individual tracks, finding the best or cleanest version of a song, or simply finding a song to fulfill a request. You’re lucky I didn’t have to work today or this post never would have been realized.

This first section of songs is taken from a 2004 performance that Sufjan played up in Canada. The venue was a place called Lees Palace and it can be found in Toronto. The sound quality of the recording is absolutely excellent. To the best of my knowledge this concert has never been available as individual song downloads, so enjoy this little gem. For those of you who would like the entire concert, simply download the zip file from zshare {link}. This download contains every single second of the recording split up into individual tracks. With the entire concert you get to hear Sufjan banter a bit and explain literally every single song that he plays. The individual tracks listed below are listed in the order they were played that night and they have been edited, as best as possible, so that they contain only the song and not the conversational pieces or the audience applause. Choose your poison.

All the tracks in one zip file : here {zshare = left click}

mp3 : Sufjan Stevens – The Fifty States (Live at Lees Palace)
mp3 : Sufjan Stevens – Flint (For The Unemployed and Underpaid) (Live at Lees Palace)
mp3 : Sufjan Stevens – Chicago (Live at Lees Palace)
mp3 : Sufjan Stevens – Sister (Live at Lees Palace)
mp3 : Sufjan Stevens – The Upper Peninsula (Live at Lees Palace)
mp3 : Sufjan Stevens – A Good Man Is Hard To Find (Live at Lees Palace)
mp3 : Sufjan Stevens – That Dress Looks Nice On You (Live at Lees Palace)
mp3 : Sufjan Stevens – Say Yes! To M!ch!gan! (Live at Lees Palace)
mp3 : Sufjan Stevens – Romulus (Live at Lees Palace)
mp3 : Sufjan Stevens – He Woke Me Up Again (Live at Lees Palace)
mp3 : Sufjan Stevens – Seven Swans (Live at Lees Palace)
mp3 : Sufjan Stevens – The Star Spangled Banner (Live at Lees Palace)
mp3 : Sufjan Stevens – All Good Naysayers, Speak Up! Or Forever Hold Your Peace! (Live at Lees Palace)
mp3 : Sufjan Stevens – Super Sexy Woman (Live at Lees Palace)
mp3 : Sufjan Stevens – For the Widows In Paradise, For the Fatherless in Ypsilanti (Live at Lees Palace)

It is quite an amazing set and I’m glad to be able to post it here. Enjoy it thoroughly, I recommend downloading the entire concert in one zip file as it gives you a much more complete set.

This next live set hails from a Festival Sufjan played October 1st, 2004 called the Festival Para Gente Sentada. Again you have two options to download the tracks. If you would like you can grab all the files in one easy to use zip file. The other option comes as single song downloads for those of you readers who are a bit more frugal with hard drive space. As per usual the tracks below are listed in the order they were played that night.

All the tracks in one place : here {zshare = left click}

mp3 : Sufjan Stevens – This One Goes Out To The One I Love (REM Cover) (Live at Festival Para Gente Sentada)
mp3 : Sufjan Stevens – The Upper Peninsula (Live at Festival Para Gente Sentada)
mp3 : Sufjan Stevens – Romulus (Live at Festival Para Gente Sentada)
mp3 : Sufjan Stevens – The Dress Looks Nice On You (Live at Festival Para Gente Sentada)
mp3 : Sufjan Stevens – Size Too Small (Live at Festival Para Gente Sentada)
mp3 : Sufjan Stevens – For The Widows In Paradise, For The Fatherless In Ypsilanti (Live at Festival Para Gente Sentada)
mp3 : Sufjan Stevens – He Woke Me Up Again (Live at Festival Para Gente Sentada)
mp3 : Sufjan Stevens – Seven Swans (Live at Festival Para Gente Sentada)
mp3 : Sufjan Stevens – Chicago (Live at Festival Para Gente Sentada)

Yet another great set from the esteemed Sufjan Stevens. It seems as if he cannot go wrong. As I’ve said before Sufjan seems to have a certain musical Midas touch with which, and we are all thankful, he has seen appropriate to share this blessing with us all.

This last section of songs hail from all over the map of the Sufjan canon. This is where I’m answering requests that were left during the previous six days. There’s a couple of Christmas tracks, a few from studio albums, and a trifecta of rare and largely unpublished other tracks. The BQE tracks hail from an in studio radio performance Sufjan and his orchestra played at WNYC. For those of you who don’t know The BQE stands for The Brooklyn Queens Expressway and it was a musical composition Sufjan set to a short film he made of that highway. Enjoy the rarities, some of them were an utter pain to find.

mp3 : Sufjan Stevens – Bushwick Junkie
mp3 : Sufjan Stevens – God’ll Ne’er Let You Down
mp3 : Sufjan Stevens – Holy, Holy, Holy
mp3 : Sufjan Stevens – Sister Winter
mp3 : Sufjan Stevens – The BQE Movement 3 (Live on WNYC)
mp3 : Sufjan Stevens – The BQE Movement 6 (Live on WNYC)
mp3 : Sufjan Stevens – Come On! Feel The Illinoise!: Part I: The World’s Columbian Exposition/Part II: Carl Sandburg Visits Me In A Dream
mp3 : Sufjan Stevens – Variation On Commemorative Transfiguration & Communion At Magruder Park

At long last this brings us to the end of the 2007 installment of Seven Days of Sufjan.  I hope you’ve enjoyed your time here at The World Forgot and I hope I’ll see you back in the future.  I’m not sure how long these tracks will stay available here as they seem to be downloaded literally by the dozens and it kills my bandwidth allowance. I hope you’ve enjoyed this trip through all things Sufjan and make sure you see him live to really experience his genius. Support him as an artist and support other bands on his label, Asthmatic Kitty. Cheers.

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Seven Days of Sufjan Stevens part 6

Welcome to the sixth installment of Seven Days of Sufjan Stevens. This is a series that I began, largely in jest, last year when my blog was still a young pup just learning to run around. This time around I’m dumping massive amounts of tracks from the ubiquitous Sufjan and I’m also encouraging you, if you like what you’re getting, to vote for this blog in the Billboard Best Music Blog competition. You only have two days left to vote, so hurry up and vote for this blog.

These tracks hail largely from various sources. Some are from the B-Sides of Michigan. Some performances have only ever been heard live. Others hail from compilation albums or an EP. Wherever they come from they are mostly rare. To the die hard Sufjan fan these might be old news. You might even have them floating around on your drive somewhere. For the rest of the world here’s a chance to see Sufjan in a new light.

All the tracks in one zip file : here {zshare = left click}

mp3 : Sufjan Stevens – Adlai Stevenson (Alternate Version)
mp3 : Sufjan Stevens – Borderline
mp3 : Sufjan Stevens – Chicago (To String Remix by Jongalloway)
mp3 : Sufjan Stevens – Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing (Live at The Knitting Factory)
mp3 : Sufjan Stevens – Jupiter Bad June (Live at MusicNOW Festival)
mp3 : Sufjan Stevens – Majesty, Snowbird (Live)
mp3 : Sufjan Stevens – Many Guides (Live on Wired for Sound)
mp3 : Sufjan Stevens – Niagara Falls (Final)
mp3 : Sufjan Stevens – Opie’s Funeral Song
mp3 : Sufjan Stevens – The Friendly Beasts
mp3 : Sufjan Stevens – The Lord God Bird
mp3 : Sufjan Stevens – To Be Alone With You (Live)

If you’ve never heard Niagara Falls, Opie’s Funeral Song, or The Lord God Bird those are the three tracks that you should listen to immediately. Don’t hesitate, just listen. The rest of the tracks are quality as well. I hope you’re enjoying Seven Days of Sufjan Stevens. If you’d like to see the entire series on one page simply click here. Tomorrow I was planning on dropping two full live sets {at least one of which is recorded from the soundboard} and Movements 3 and 6 from the BQE. Does that sound like something you would be interested in?

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Seven Days of Sufjan Stevens part 5

The Seven Days of Sufjan Stevens in 2007 is winding down my friends but it has been a good ride thus far. I hope you’ve all enjoyed the tracks posted and if you missed any feel free to click here and view the entire series of posts on one page.

Today I take a look at various covers that Sufjan has preformed, both in studio recordings and live. Although this isn’t a complete list of efforts these tracks serve to show his versatility as a musician as he covers some songs straight up and other songs he puts his own Sufjan spin on. Covers in this series can be found a variety of compilation albums; most notably Dream Brother, A Tribute to Joni Mitchell (iTunes), This Bird has Flown, and the soundtrack to the film I’m Not There (iTunes).

mp3 : Sufjan Stevens – Free Man In Paris (Joni Mitchell Cover)
mp3 : Sufjan Stevens – Lakes of Canada (Live The Innocence Mission Cover)
mp3 : Sufjan Stevens – Ring Them Bells (Bob Dylan Cover)
mp3 : Sufjan Stevens – She Is (Tim Buckley Cover)
mp3 : Sufjan Stevens – The One I Love (Live REM Cover)
mp3 : Sufjan Stevens – What Goes On (Beatles Cover)

The song Lakes of Canada is especially wonderful and if there comes a request or two I could possibly post the original by The Innocence Band sometime soon. We’ll see if anyone wants it. Cheers.

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Seven Days of Sufjan Stevens part 4

Welcome back to day four in the massive run of Sufjan Stevens tracks. I hope you’re enjoying this little endeavor I’ve undertaken, but more importantly I hope you’re learning to love Sufjan in a new or deeper way. The man is a modern day musical genius. He can capture hearts like no other composer and although he has spawned a massive wave of talented musicians there are relatively few that can hold a candle to the particularities of Sufjan.

Today the tracks I’m bringing come from another radio performance Sufjan did in the year two thousand and five. Yesterday I put up his set from KEXP, and today I’m posting his set from another great radio station, KCRW. {Now if only I could find a performance from WOXY I would have covered the trifecta of great American Radio} If you’ve never been to site for KCRW you should check it out. They offer an amazingly complete listening archive where you can listen to old shows, programs, and generally anything of merit they’ve ever broadcast. If you dig their programs please take a moment and support their fine station. And as a side bonus, if you support them now, you’ll be entered in a drawing to win trips to Rome, Australia, or to drive away with a Smart Car.

The tracks here below were originally broadcast in a show entitled Morning Becomes Eclectic hosted by the indelible Nic Harcourt. If you’d rather listen to a stream of the show you can find that here on their site. Below the show is posted in the correct track order for the performance.

All the tracks in one zip file : here {zshare = left click}

mp3 : Sufjan Stevens – Intro (Live on KCRW)
mp3 : Sufjan Stevens – Casimir Pulaski Day (Live on KCRW)
mp3 : Sufjan Stevens – The Man of Metropolis Steals Our Hearts (Live on KCRW)
mp3 : Sufjan Stevens – Chicago (Live on KCRW)
mp3 : Sufjan Stevens – Interview (Live on KCRW)
mp3 : Sufjan Stevens – John Wayne Gacy, Jr. (Live on KCRW)
mp3 : Sufjan Stevens – A Good Man is Hard to Find (Live on KCRW)
mp3 : Sufjan Stevens – Jacksonville (Live on KCRW)

If you’re enjoying this series on The World Forgot I would like to say thanks for reading. If you’d like to view the other posts in this series click here. Also, thanks for all the great comments I’ve received, it’s always nice to get feedback. Enjoy the music and support KCRW.

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Seven Days of Sufjan Stevens part 3

I’m blogging about Sufjan each and every day for seven days straight. To see the rest of these posts simply click here. Also, if you like what you’re reading/seeing/hearing feel free to vote for my blog. Each vote would be much appreciated. {click here, then click on the blue ‘rate it’ button in the upper left}.

Today’s post hails from the year two thousand and five when Sufjan was invited to play a live set for one of my favorite radio stations, KEXP. If you don’t know what KEXP is, or you’ve never heard of them, then please take a second to hang out on their site. They stream all of their old shows {including concerts} for free as well as webcasting their daily broadcast to anyone who is willing to visit their site. For those of you who are big fans, or have deep pocket books, then please take a moment and help support a great radio station. You can even volunteer time, become an intern, or join one of KEXP’s street teams.

These Sufjan tracks hail from a show he played for KEXP at a venue called the Triple Door. If you’d rather stream the entire performance from KEXP you may certainly do so here, or to make life a little more portable, and a little more convenient, you can download the entire set in mp3 format below. Enjoy this third installment of Seven Days of Sufjan Stevens, it was a total bear to cobble this set together.

All the tracks in one zip file : here {zshare = left click}

mp3 : Sufjan Stevens – Casimir Pulaski Day (Live on KEXP)
mp3 : Sufjan Stevens – Chicago (Live on KEXP)
mp3 : Sufjan Stevens – Jacksonville (Live on KEXP)
mp3 : Sufjan Stevens – John Wayne Gacy, Jr. (Live on KEXP)
mp3 : Sufjan Stevens – Prairie Fire That Wanders About (Live on KEXP)
mp3 : Sufjan Stevens – The Man Of Metropolis Steals Our Hearts (Live on KEXP)
mp3 : Sufjan Stevens – The Predatory Wasp of the Palisades is Out to Get Us! (Live on KEXP)
mp3 : Sufjan Stevens – The Tallest Man, The Broadest Shoulders Part I The Great Frontier (Live on KEXP)

The track order, as performed that night, can be found in the comments on this post.

It’s a beautiful concert broadcast by a great radio station I have been listening to for a long time. Visit KEXP and help support them and the great artists they give airtime to. Also worth noting is that this live rendition of John Wayne Gacy, Jr. is a full ninety seconds longer than its album counterpart. And let me say, each of those ninety seconds is well worth it.

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