Song of the Day #1,423: ‘Kitty’s Back’ – Bruce Springsteen

Best Albums of the 70s – #10
The Wild, the Innocent and the E-Street Shuffle – Bruce Springsteen (1973)

With one or two exceptions, I didn’t hear any of the albums on this list during the actual 70s. I discovered them mostly in the 80s and 90s, as I became a bigger music fan and dug through bins at used record stores to find CDs I’d read were important.

So in most cases, while I haven’t known these records since they were released, I have lived with them for 20-30 years.

Today’s featured album, however, is a major exception. I discovered Bruce Springsteen’s sophomore album only this year.

To be fair, I had listened to it before — at least in parts — but I’d never really heard it. But during a re-exploration of Springsteen’s career a few months ago — spurred by his strong new album Wrecking Ball — I found The Wild, The Innocent and the E-Street Shuffle in my CD player.

What I discovered was an album bursting with musicality, theatricality and an infectious creative energy. Springsteen spins his street-smart character sketches with staccato bursts of bruiser poetry. The lyrics could pass for stream-of-conscious if they weren’t so meticulously shaped.

Musically, the newly formed E-Street band tore through multiple genres, but mostly settled into a jazz-rock groove that makes every track feel like the world’s coolest lawn concert.

I’ve grown to appreciate Springsteen a lot more over the past few years, through both his new and old music, but nothing he’s done quite matches the casual majesty of this album.

Catlong sighs holding Kitty’s black tooth
She left to marry some top cat, ain’t it the cold truth
And there hasn’t been a tally since Sally left the alley
Since Kitty left with Big Pretty things have got pretty thin
It’s tight on this fence since them young dudes are musclin’ in

Jack Knife cries ’cause baby’s in a bundle
She goes running nightly, lightly through the jungle
And them tin cans are explodin’ out in the ninety-degree heat
Cat somehow lost his baby down on Bleecker Street
It’s sad but it sure is true
Cat shrugs his shoulders, sits back and sighs
OOh, what can I do, ooh, what can I do?
OOh, what can I do, ooh what can I do?

Catlong lies back bent on a trash can,
Flashing lights cut the night, dude in the white says he’s the man
Well you better learn to move fast when you’re young or you’re not long around
Cat somehow lost his Kitty down in the city pound
So get right, get tight, get down
Well who’s that down at the end of the alley?
She’s been gone so long

Kitty’s back in town, here she comes now
Kitty’s back in town
Kitty’s back in town, here she comes now
Kitty’s back in town
Kitty’s back in town, here she comes now
Kitty’s back in town

Now Cat knows his Kitty’s been untrue
And that she left him for a city dude
But she’s so soft, she’s so blue
When he looks into her eyes
He just sits back and sighs
Ooh, what can I do, ooh, what can I do?

2 thoughts on “Song of the Day #1,423: ‘Kitty’s Back’ – Bruce Springsteen

  1. Dana says:

    I also have probably heard this album all the way through only a few times, but it is a great one. The most known song, of course, is the epic “Rosalita,” which I first heard in the relatively early days of MTV. The video really captured the passion and energy of Bruce’s live show and I was immediately drawn in. So for those who may not have seen it at the time, or just want to relive the experience—here you go:

  2. pegclifton says:

    As Obama said “The reason I’m running for President is because I can’t be Bruce Springsteen” Just love that quote 😉

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