JACK OF ALL TRADES

Album version

I'll mow your lawn, clean the leaves out your drain
I'll mend your roof to keep out the rain
I'll take the work that God provides
I'm a Jack of all trades, honey, we'll be alright

I'll hammer the nails and I'll set the stone
I'll harvest your crops when they're ripe and grown
I'll pull that engine apart and patch her up 'til she's running right
I'm a Jack of all trades, we'll be alright

The hurricane blows, brings a hard rain
When the blue sky breaks, it feels like the world's gonna change
We'll start caring for each other like Jesus said that we might
I'm a Jack of all trades, we'll be alright

The banker man grows fat, the working man grows thin
It's all happened before and it'll happen again
It'll happen again, yeah, they'll bet your life
I'm a Jack of all trades, darling, we'll be alright

Now sometimes tomorrow comes soaked in treasure and blood
Here we stood the drought, now we'll stand the flood
There's a new world coming, I can see the light
I'm a Jack of all trades, we'll be alright

So you use what you've got and you learn to make do
You take the old, you make it new
If I had me a gun, I'd find the bastards and shoot 'em on sight
I'm a Jack of all trades, we'll be alright
I'm a Jack of all trades, we'll be alright


Page last updated: 17 Mar 2012

Info

Music and lyrics by Bruce Springsteen, JACK OF ALL TRADES is the fourth track on his 2012 album, Wrecking Ball. The above lyrics are for Springsteen's studio version of JACK OF ALL TRADES as released on Wrecking Ball.

JACK OF ALL TRADES debuted on 22 Feb 2012, streaming on SPIN.com.

Composition and Recording

It has not yet been revealed when JACK OF ALL TRADES was written or recorded, but it's probably in 2011.

The line-up on this track is Bruce Springsteen, Ron Aniello, Tom Morello (electric guitar), Soozie Tyrell (violin), the New York String Section (strings), and a horn section consisting from Curt Ramm (trumpet and/or cornet), Clark Gayton (trombone), Stan Harrison (clarinet, alto sax, and/or tenor sax), Ed Manion (tenor sax and/or baritone sax), Dan Levine (alto horn and/or euphonium), and Art Baron (euphonium and/or tuba).

Wrecking Ball

Wrecking Ball is Bruce Springsteen's seventeenth studio album. It was produced by Ron Aniello with Bruce Springsteen and executive producer Jon Landau, and features special guest appearances from Tom Morello and Matt Chamberlain. The album features 11 new Springsteen recordings and a special edition includes two bonus tracks. All 13 tracks are Springsteen compositions, three of which have previously been released in live forms.

Before the album came together, Springsteen was originally working on a gospel record on which he spent on-and-off about a year. He had written about 30 to 40 songs, including WE TAKE CARE OF OUR OWN, SHACKLED AND DRAWN, and ROCKY GROUND. In a December 2013 interview for Rolling Stone, Ron Aniello told Andy Greene: "Those were about 30 or 40 songs. They were very unique for him, unlike anything I'd ever heard." Aniello later wanted to work on these songs, to help arrange them or give Springsteen ideas for a potential release, but instead he worked on what became High Hopes and none of those songs ended up on the 2014 album. "Those are lovely songs, but none of them are on this record." When asked how he would describe the sound of those songs, Aniello said, "I would compare them to Aaron Copland. It has a very open landscape feel and I guess... You wouldn't call it country. It's just very hard to describe. You'll just have to wait. I'm actually working on some of the songs now and going through them. He's looking for a way to approach that album." At the end of the interview, Aniello said that he doesn't know if any of those pre-Wrecking Ball songs are going to be released someday. "It's all up to Bruce. I know they're going on tour in January. Hopefully sometime in 2014 they'll be interested in hearing my record."

Then Springsteen decided to drop the project and started focusing on solo material. It was on 09 Jan 2011 that Ron Aniello first went to Colts Neck to help Springsteen finish arrangements for the project he was working on. After they had been working together for about a month, Springsteen wrote EASY MONEY which was a different style of song to what they've been working on before. As Aniello told to WCHR-FM's Tom Cunningham, "things just started steam rolling into this other record, you know, not sure what was going round in his mind." Springsteen was bringing in more songs, and it was evident that the direction of the music was changing. Jon Landau came in, listened to the music, and after a discussion with Springsteen they decided to do a new album. "Literally, this man bought in a new song every day. He just bulldozed us with these songs," Aniello explained.

Springsteen was coming in every morning with a new song and it would start with just him and his guitar. He would then sing a rhythm to Aniello, or sit down at the drums and play a beat. Aniello was looping these drum beats – no drum machines were used on Wrecking Ball – and adding other layers, like loops of percussion, also played by Springsteen. According to Aniello, this was done just for convenience because they were alone in studio, songs were coming in quick, and there were no other musicians there. The loops stayed, and other instruments were added at later stages. "Ron brought a large library of sound that allowed me to explore – like maybe a hip-hop drum loop or country-blues stomp loop," Springsteen told Rolling Stone in 2012. "The actual drums came later. There was no preconceived set of instruments that needed to be used, I could go anywhere, do anything, use anything. It was very wide open." Everybody who was around was participating in the recording. They even jumped on pieces of plywood, built some some risers to stomp on, and hit couches to makes noises.

Wrecking Ball was mainly recorded at Stone Hill Studio, Springsteen's home studio at his Colts Neck, NJ farm house. The album was released on Columbia Records on 05 Mar 2012 in the UK, 06 Mar 2012 in the United States, and 21 Mar 2012 in Japan.

[Click thumbnail to enlarge/reduce artwork]

Wrecking Ball was recorded with a large ensemble of musicians. There's a core of six musicians, while all others are just guest artists. Some E Street Band members appear on a few of the tracks. According to Ron Aniello, the album credits are "a mess" and will be revised in future reissues.

  • Bruce Springsteen (lead vocals, guitars, banjo, piano, organ, drums, percussion, and loops) appears on all the album's tracks.
  • Ron Aniello (guitar, bass, keyboards, drums, loops, percussion, hurdy gurdy, and backing vocals) appears on all of the album's tracks. He is also the album producer.
  • Matt Chamberlain (drums and percussion) appears on tracks 3, 5, and 8.
  • Max Weinberg (drums) is an E Street Band member and appears on tracks 7, 11, and 13.
  • Steve Jordan (percussion) has previously appeared on Springsteen's Devils & Dust, playing drums and percussion. He plays percussion on track 2.
  • Kevin Buell (drums and backing vocals) is Springsteen's guitar technician. He appears on track 5.
  • Charles Giordano (accordion, piano, B-3 organ, and celeste) recorded and toured with The Seeger Sessions Band and joined the E Street band in 2008. He appears on most of the album's tracks.
  • Marc Muller (pedal steel guitar) is a multi-instrumentalist who mainly plays string instruments. He plays pedal steel guitar on track 3.
  • Tom Morello (electric guitar) appears on tracks 4 and 6.
  • Greg Leisz (banjo, mandola, and lap steel) is a multi-instrumentalist, mainly playing lap and pedal steel guitars, guitar, mandolin, and bass. He appears on tracks 8 and 11.
  • Rob Lebert (electric guitar and backing vocals) appears on tracks 5, 7, 8, 12, and 13.
  • Darrell Leonard (trumpet and bass trumpet) is a Los Angeles based trumpet player, composer and arranger. He appears on track 11.
  • Curt Ramm (trumpet and cornet) toured with The Seeger Sessions Band. He appears on tracks 3, 4, 7, 8, 9, and 10.
  • Clark Gayton (trombone) toured with The Seeger Sessions Band. He appears on tracks 3, 4, 8, 9, and 10.
  • Stan Harrison (clarinet, alto sax, and tenor sax) has previously appeared on Springsteen's The Promise, playing tenor saxophone. He appears on tracks 3, 4, 8, 9, and 10.
  • Ed Manion (tenor sax and baritone sax) is a member of The Miami Horns and he toured with the E Street band in 1988 and recorded and toured with The Seeger Sessions Band. He appears on tracks 3, 4, 8, 9, and 10.
  • Dan Levine (alto horn and euphonium) is a New York City based musician who plays several horn instruments in studios and live. He appears on tracks 3, 4, 9, and 10.
  • Art Baron (euphonium, tuba, sousaphone, and penny whistle) recorded and toured with The Seeger Sessions Band. He appears on tracks 3, 4, 5, 9, and 10.
  • Clarence Clemons (saxophone) was an E Street Band member and appears on tracks 7 and 10.
  • Soozie Tyrell (violin and backing vocals) started touring with the E Street band in 2002 and toured with The Seeger Sessions Band in 2006. She appears on most of the album's tracks.
  • Patti Scialfa (backing vocals and vocal arrangements) is Springsteen's wife and a member of the E Street Band since 1984. She appears on most of the album's tracks.
  • Lisa Lowell (backing vocals) has been singing backup vocals on several Springsteen albums since 1992 and recorded and toured with The Seeger Sessions Band. She appears on tracks 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 10, and 12.
  • Cindy Mizelle (background vocals) toured with The Seeger Sessions Band and the E Street Band in 2009. She appears on track 3.
  • Ross Peterson (backing vocals) appears on tracks 3, 5, 7, 8, 12, and 13.
  • Cliff Norrell (tuba and backing vocals) is the album's engineer. He appears on tracks 3, 5, 7, 8, 12, and 13.
  • New York String Section (strings), also known as the New York Chamber Consort, consists of Rob Mathes (orchestration), Sandy Park (string contractor), Lisa Kim (concertmaster), Myumju Lee (violin), Ann Lehmaan (violin), Lizz Lim (violin), Johanna Marher (violin), Annaliesa Place (violin), Fiona Simon (violin), Sharon Yamada (violin), Jung Sun Yu (violin), Karen Dreyfus (viola), Daniel Panner (viola), Robert Rinehart (viola), Mina Smith (cello), and Alan Stepansky (cello). It appears on tracks 1, 4, and 7.
  • Victorious Gospel Choir (backing vocals) has previously appeared on Springsteen's The Rising. On Wrecking Ball, the choir includes Michelle Moore, Antoinette Savage, Corinda Carford, Tiffeny Andrews, Soloman Cobbs, and Lillie Brown. It appears on tracks 2, 9, and 10. Michelle Moore is credited separately on the three tracks. The remaining singers are credited individually on track 2, and as the Victorious Gospel Choir on tracks 9 and 10.
  • Jeremy McCoy (bass violin) is a bass guitar player. He appears on track 12.
  • Dan Shelly (bassoon) is an orchestra bassoon player. He appears on track 12.
  • Mark Romatz (contra bassoon) is an orchestra bassoon player. He appears on track 12.
  • Steven Van Zandt (mandolin and backing vocals) is an E Street Band member. He appears on tracks 7, 10, and 13.

Wrecking Ball is available in three configurations: standard CD edition, special CD edition, and double-disc LP. The special CD edition features two bonus tracks and exclusive packaging. The double-disc LP is pressed on 180-gram vinyl and includes a CD version of the album.

Wrecking Ball track list:

  1. WE TAKE CARE OF OUR OWN
  2. EASY MONEY
  3. SHACKLED AND DRAWN
  4. JACK OF ALL TRADES
  5. DEATH TO MY HOMETOWN
  6. THIS DEPRESSION
  7. WRECKING BALL
  8. YOU'VE GOT IT
  9. ROCKY GROUND
  10. LAND OF HOPE AND DREAMS
  11. WE ARE ALIVE
  12. SWALLOWED UP (IN THE BELLY OF THE WHALE) [bonus track]
  13. AMERICAN LAND [bonus track]

The album topped the charts in 16 countries, including the United States and the UK.

[Click here to display/hide list of countries in which the album charted]

Live History

JACK OF ALL TRADES was performed off-tour on 02 Mar 2012 at 30 Rockefeller Center in New York City, NY, during a TV appearance on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon to promote the release of the Wrecking Ball album. The song was played with the E Street Band and Tom Morello. See the live 02 Mar 2012 version for more details.

JACK OF ALL TRADES was performed off-tour on 09 Mar 2012 at Apollo Theater in New York City, NY, during the Sirius Satellite Radio 10-year anniversary celebration. The song was played with the E Street Band. See the live 09 Mar 2012 version for more details.

JACK OF ALL TRADES was performed off-tour on 15 Mar 2012 at Moody Theater in Austin, TX, during an intimate concert following Bruce Springsteen's keynote speech at the South By Southwest music festival. The song was played with the E Street Band and Tom Morello.

[Click here to display/hide detailed 2012 off-tour performances list]

Available Versions

List of available versions of JACK OF ALL TRADES on this website:

Credits

Thanks Jimmy Peterson for the lyrics corrections.

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