Live 09 Dec 1995 version
[Spoken intro:] (chuckles) Ah you're a bunch of suckers, alright (chuckles). This is a song about hope, friendship, community, struggle, survival, every Western movie I ever saw. About how it ain't over till it's over.
Well hey there mister, can you tell me what happened to the seeds I've sown
Can you give me a reason, sir, as to why they never grown
Well they just blown around from town to town till they're back out on these fields
Where they fall from my hand back into the dirt of this hard land
Now me and my sister, from Germantown yeah we did ride
We made our beds, sir, from the rock on the mountain side
We've been blown around from town to town, yeah looking for a place to land
Where the sun bursts through the clouds to fall like a circle, like a circle of fire down on this hard land
Now even the rain it don't come around, don't come around here no more
And the only sound at night's the wind, the wind slamming that back porch door
Well it just stirs you up like it wants to blow you down, yeah just twisting and churning up the sand
Leaving all them scarecrows lying face down, face down in the dirt of this hard land
From a building up on the hill I can hear a beat box blasting "Home On The Range"
I can see them bar rim choppers sweeping low across the plains
And it's me and you Frank, we're looking for lost cattle, our hooves twisting and churning up the sand
We're riding in the whirlwind, searching for lost treasure way down south of the Rio Grande
We're riding across that river in the moonlight yeah up onto the banks of this hard land
Hey Frank, won't you pack your bags and meet me tonight down at Liberty Hall
I just want a kiss from you my brother and we'll ride 'til we fall
We'll sleep in the fields, we'll sleep by the rivers and in the morning we'll make a plan
Well if you can't make it, stay hard, stay hungry, stay alive if you can and meet me in a dream of this hard land
[Spoken outro:] Thank you.
The above lyrics are for the live 09 Dec 1995 performance of THIS HARD LAND at Tower Theater in Upper Darby, PA, during The Ghost Of Tom Joad Solo Acoustic Tour. In this version Springsteen replaces "tape deck" with "beat box".
A selection of four studio tracks from The Ghost Of Tom Joad album (see track list below) intercepted with interview segments with journalist Bob Costas were originally broadcast on the 21 Nov 1995 edition of the syndicated Columbia Records Radio Hour radio show which aired on U.S. album oriented rock stations. Costas conducted the interview with Bruce Springsteen that same day (21 Nov 1995) either prior to or following Springsteen's public warm-up show at the State Theater in New Brunswick, NJ. A total of 35 minutes of the 90-minute interview were used in the radio show.
Additionally, one track from Springsteen's 08 Dec 1995 show and nine tracks from his 09 Dec 1995 show at Upper Darby's Tower Theater (see track list below) were broadcast on the 14 Dec 1995 edition of the Columbia Records Radio Hour radio show.
The complete Columbia Records Radio Hour show was officially issued in December 1995 on cassette and reel-to-reel tapes for promotional use in the United States. Six of the ten live tracks from part 2 of the radio show (the 14 Dec 1995 broadcast) were never made available in commercial form.
Side A is part 1 of the radio show: the 21 Nov 1995 broadcast. The tracks on this side are interspersed with segments from the interview with Bob Costas. Side B is part 2 of the radio show: the 14 Dec 1995 broadcast.
Part 2 of the Columbia Records Radio Hour radio show (the 14 Dec 1995 broadcast) was commercially released in Europe. Since 2005 some enterprising record labels in Europe (mostly in the UK) have been releasing Bruce Springsteen radio and TV broadcasts (and some soundboard recordings) from the seventies, eighties, and nineties. Though these releases are not authorized by Bruce Springsteen or his record company, they are lawful due to a legal loophole in Europe.
The live 09 Dec 1995 performance of THIS HARD LAND was also released on the B-side of DEAD MAN WALKIN' in Europe and included on the Dead Man Walkin' European EP in 1996. It was also included on the Live & Rare European EP in 2003.
List of available versions of THIS HARD LAND on this website:THIS HARD LAND [Official 1982 studio version]