I grew up with two parents who had completely opposite styles of music 100% of the time. If you got in the truck with dad you knew you would be listening to country, and if you got in the car with mom you knew for sure you would be listening to “The Boss”, or as most know him, Bruce Springsteen. Springsteen, a rock artist, began his career in the mid 60’s and is still producing music and touring today at the age of 67 years old. I had heard a lot of his music throughout the years and grew to know and like most of it, but there was one song of his in particular that really stuck with me, Old Dan Tucker. This song was a mix of old hillbilly country, and the Bruce Springsteen flare. Although I loved this song I never quite understood how it fit into his repertoire, but wasn’t complaining.
Dan Tucker, an american folk character, became popularized in 1843 in the form of a song. Because his story was mostly passed down by mouth, most don’t know when his story originated, but what we do know is that his story and the folk roots of his story are still alive and well. Because the story was passed down by mouth it varied a lot and there were many different versions of it. However, most of them made Old Dan Tucker seem like the father of all hillbillies, washing his face with a frying pan and combing his hair with a wagon wheel.
Before learning what I have learned in this class with the evolution of rock and roll taking pieces from hillbilly music and mixing it with the blues, I wouldn’t have understood how this song fit into Bruce’s genre pattern. But after learning how music has evolved taking properties from other genres and taking them into the next in now understand how the use of banjos, and heavy percussion, use of brass instruments (mainly saxophone) and folk wording all blend together in the Rock genre. Now I can continue to dance and sing to one of my favorite songs and understand why it is the way it is and why it fits.
Below you can find my favorite version of this song, Live in Dublin with the Sessions Band, and the lyrics.