THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD

2006 studio version


Pete Seeger:Men walking 'long the railroad tracks
Going someplace, there's no going back
Highway patrol choppers coming up over the ridge
Hot soup on a campfire under the bridge
Shelter line stretching 'round the corner
Welcome to the new world order
Families sleeping in their cars in the southwest
No home, no job, no peace, no rest

Pete Seeger:The highway is alive tonight
But nobody's kidding nobody about where it goes
I'm sitting down here in the campfire light
Searching for the ghost of Tom Joad

Bruce Springsteen:He pulls a prayer book out of his sleeping bag
Preacher lights up a butt and takes a drag
Waiting for when the last shall be first and the first shall be last
In a cardboard box 'neath the underpass
You got a one-way ticket to the promised land
You got a hole in your belly and a gun in your hand
Sleeping on a pillow of solid rock
Bathing in the city aqueduct

Pete Seeger:The highway is alive tonight
Bruce Springsteen:The highway is alive tonight
Pete Seeger:But nobody's kidding nobody about where it goes
Bruce Springsteen:Where it's headed everybody knows
Pete Seeger:I'm sitting down here in the campfire light
Bruce Springsteen:I'm sitting down here in the campfire light
Pete Seeger:Searching for the ghost of Tom Joad
Bruce Springsteen:Waiting on the ghost of Tom Joad

Pete Seeger:Now Tom said, "Mom, wherever there's a cop beating a guy
Wherever a hungry newborn baby cries
Where there's a fight against the blood and hatred in the air
Look for me, Mom, I'll be there
Wherever there's somebody fighting for a place to stand
Or a decent job or a helping hand
Wherever somebody's struggling to be free
Look in their eyes, Mom, you'll see me"
Bruce Springsteen:"Wherever somebody's struggling to be free
Look in their eyes, Mom, you'll see me"

Pete Seeger:The highway is alive tonight
Bruce Springsteen:The highway is alive tonight
Pete Seeger:But nobody's kidding nobody about where it goes
Bruce Springsteen:Where it's heading everybody knows
Pete Seeger:I'm sitting down here in the campfire light
Bruce Springsteen:I'm sitting down here in the campfire light
Pete Seeger:Searching for the ghost of Tom Joad
Bruce Springsteen:Waiting on the ghost of Tom Joad

Info

The above lyrics are for an acoustic studio version of THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD recorded in 2006 as duet with Pete Seeger, whose parts are spoken. This version, with the title shortened to "Ghost of Tom Joad", was exclusively released on the Sowing The Seeds: The 10th Anniversary in 2007. The US-only compilation commemorates the Appleseed Recordings label's tenth anniversary.

Various artists -- Sowing The Seeds: The 10th Anniversary
Various artists -- Sowing The Seeds: The 10th Anniversary

2xCD - Appleseed Recordings (APR CD 1102) - USA, 2007

Released on 11 Sep 2007.

The track was recorded at various locations between mid- and late 2006. Pete Seeger's part was recorded on 04 Jul 2006 at his cabin in Beacon, NY. Springsteen's part was recorded later at Boxwood Studio, his home studio in New Jersey. The backing band's individual parts were recorded at various locations and then everything was mixed together. See the "Track Credits" and "Liner Notes" sections below for more details.

Track Credits

Pete Seeger: vocal
Bruce Springsteen: vocal, acoustic guitar, harmonica
Mark Dann: acoustic guitar
Ken Lovelett: percussion
David Hamburger: Dobro
Tim Carbone: fiddle
Michael Visceglia: bass

Produced by David Seitz, Jim Musselman and Bruce Springsteen
Engineered by David Seitz
Mixed by David Seitz at Shelter Island Sound, New York City, N.Y.
Mix assistants: Asia Meirovich, Matt Gil
Acoustic guitar recorded by Mark Dann at Mark Dann Recording, Woodstock, N.Y.
Dobro recorded at Shade Tree Recording Studio, Austin, TX.
Engineer: Andy Melvin
Percussion recorded at Sonart Studios, Woodstock, N.Y.
Fiddle recorded at Berkeley Sound Artists, Berkeley, CA.
Engineer: James Lebrecht
Seeger vocals recorded at Pete's cabin, Beacon, N.Y.
Assistant Engineer: Raeann Zschokke
Springsteen vocals recorded at Boxwood Studio
Engineer: Toby Scott

Liner Notes

Liner notes from the Sowing The Seeds: The 10th Anniversary album:

I asked Pete to sing this song and we recorded it, among others, at his cabin on July 4, 2006, at what I now call "the Springsteen Sessions." Bruce and his manager, Jon Landau, liked the idea and Bruce added vocal, guitar and harmonica tracks to the song. The arrangement is structured with Pete talk-singing first and then Bruce repeating some of the lyrics. I did this purposely I feel Bruce has carried on Pete's legacy in many ways, and when Pete says, "Wherever someone is struggling to be free/Look in their eyes, Mom, you will see me," and Bruce echoes the line, it is the sound of a torch being passed. The song's last verse is, indeed, a summary of how Pete has lived his life speaking for the voiceless, putting himself on the line regardless of consequence. David Seitz did a great job of putting this song together and adding the instrumentation. (A second Seeger/ Springsteen collaboration, "Hobo's Lullaby," will appear on our Feels Like Home fund- and awareness-raising multi-artist CD available later this year.)

– Jim Musselman, president and founder of Appleseed Recordings

In 1997 I recorded "We Shall Overcome" for Appleseed's Where Have All the Flowers Gone: The Songs of Pete Seeger. Growin' up a rock 'n' roll kid, I didn't know a lot about Pete's music or the depth of his influence until I was asked to do a song for the Seeger tribute CD. Hearing this music and our initial '97 session (where we recorded seven songs for the tribute CD) sent me off, casually at first, on a quest.

– Bruce Springsteen

Available Versions

List of available versions of THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD on this website:

THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD [1995 album version]
THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD [2006 studio version]
THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD [2009 (first) studio version]
THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD [2009 (second) studio version]
THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD [2014 album version]
THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD [Live 28 Oct 1995 version]
THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD [Live 27 Nov 1995 (NBC Studios) version]
THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD [Live 09 Dec 1995 version]
THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD [Live 20 Feb 1996 version]
THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD [Live 23 Feb 1996 version]
THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD [Live 19 Mar 1996 version]
THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD [Live 27 Apr 1996 version]
THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD [Live 26 Feb 1997 version]
THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD [Live 05 May 1997 version]
THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD [Live 22 Jan 1998 version]
THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD [Live 10 Dec 1998 version]
THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD [Live 19 Mar 1999 version]
THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD [Live 10 Mar 2000 version]
THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD [26 Jun 2000 rehearsal version]
THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD [Live 19 Feb 2002 version]
THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD [Live 16 Sep 2003 version]
THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD [Live 14 May 2005 version]
THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD [Live 19 Nov 2006 version]
THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD [Live 07 Apr 2008 version]
THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD [Live 04 Oct 2008 version]
THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD [Live 05 Oct 2008 version]
THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD [Live 06 Oct 2008 version]
THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD [Live 15 Apr 2009 version]
THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD [Live 03 May 2009 version]
THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD [Live 07 May 2009 version]
THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD [Live 29 Oct 2009 version]
THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD [Live 15 Mar 2012 version]
THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD [Live 26 Apr 2012 version]
THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD [Live 11 Jul 2012 version]
THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD [Live 11 Feb 2014 version]
THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD [Live 16 Jul 2016 version]
THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD [Live 25 Aug 2016 version]
THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD [Rage Against The Machine's cover version]

Page last updated: 31 Aug 2016