Losin’ Kind – The Bruce Springsteen Nebraska Demos

Written by Joe Wilson on December 28th, 2010

This is the first official blog (outside of MySpace) that I will attempt to keep up with.  I’d like to talk about a bunch of different topics here, but mostly it will be music – and at that, music with meaning.  Anyone that’s ever wondered where any of my songs came from, this is where you’ll get an idea of what has moved me musically.

With that, a Twitter friend of mine gave me a heads up on where to find the Bruce Springsteen Nebraska Demos.

Bruce Springsteen Nebraska Demos

Bruce Springsteen Nebraska Demos

Bruce has been on a roll lately with releasing music from the vaults. “Tracks” contains 66 throwaway tunes, (some are better than anything you would hear from any other artist), and the newly released “The Promise” featuring 22 unreleased tunes from the “Darkness on the Edge of Town” sessions. I almost get angry when I hear some of these songs, like The Promise and The Brokenhearted, wondering how you can write such beautiful songs and never release them.

While listening through the Nebraska demos, a song leapt out at me. The song was Losin’ Kind.

Nebraska is full of these types of songs, so I can see where his mind was when he was writing this. But there’s something about the imagery in this song that gives me chills. As if Nebraska or Highway Patrolman don’t do that every time I hear them… or any song on the Ghosts of Tom Joad record… I don’t know, maybe it’s because I’m hearing this for the first time now, 30 years after it was recorded. This song evokes such a feeling and I’m just angry I’ve lived my life without it so far.

Though, it’s just got to be the story. How he tells a life lesson in under 5 minutes, starting with a random encounter where the main character, Frank Davis meets his fate (a girl) outside a bar. The two immediately get into some “trouble” and are on the run together within the same night. He’s telling it in the first person, as if he’s recounting the story as a confession from a jail cell. Throughout the story, it’s evident that he knows he’s “messin’ with the losin’ kind”.

I’ve been in these kinds of situations more than I would like to admit. Where you know you’re messing with the wrong kind of gal, but you keep going with it, just hoping for the best. I guess hindsight is always 20/20.

Having this kind of personal connection with Bruce’s music happens all the time, especially when I hear a song for the first time and can immediately relate to it somehow. But the beauty of it is how he creates this beautifully heartbreaking story to convey the message. He’s a true storyteller.

The lyrics, according to springsteenlyrics.com, are as follows:

“My name is Frank Davis, drive a Dixie 109
I was out on Highway 17, just south of the Camden Line
It was down there in the heart of Wilsonville where I met my fate
She was standing outside the bar room said she was waiting for a date
But I knew that that was just a line
And I knew I was messin’ with a losin’ kind

Well I knew what we were both doin’ and I knew that you can’t win
But when the light turned green, I reached across the seat, popped the lock and she slid in
She said she liked Mexican music, she knew a place if I had the time
Well we had a few drinks and we danced a while, I pulled her close, she didn’t mind
And what I knew kinda slipped my mind
And I couldn’t resist her messin’ with the losin’ kind

Well we drove around in my Buick, getting drunk and having fun
Well we ended up at this Best Western out on Highway 101
It was around 3 A.M. we went out to this empty little roadside bar
It was there the cash register was open, it was there I hit that guy too hard
But I knew when I hit him for the second time
That one attracts the other when you’re the losin’ kind

Well I grabbed her hand to get out of there and I felt like I was gonna be sick
And half hour later the sleet started coming down and that highway got pretty slick
I seen some lights in my rearview mirror, I guess I panicked and I gave her a gun
Well then I wrapped us around a telephone pole south on Highway 101
Well she just stumbled out onto the bank and sat down in a pout
Well I kicked out the driver side window but buddy when I got out
Well all I had to greet me was a highway patrolman’s .45
He looked at the wreck and then he said “Son you’re lucky to be alive”

Well sir I’ll think that one over if you don’t mind
Now luck ain’t much good to you when it’s the losin’ kind”

Another song you just sit on and never let see the light of day, right?


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