Bruce SpringsteenThe Ghost Of Tom Joad

Label:Columbia – CK 67484, Columbia – 67484
CD, Album
Style:Folk Rock, Pop Rock


1The Ghost Of Tom Joad
BassGary Tallent*
DrumsGary Mallaber
KeyboardsDanny Federici
Pedal Steel GuitarMarty Rifkin
Vocals, Guitar, HarmonicaBruce Springsteen
2Straight Time
BassJim Hanson
Drums, PercussionGary Mallaber
KeyboardsDanny Federici
Pedal Steel GuitarMarty Rifkin
ViolinSoosie Tyrell*
Vocals, GuitarBruce Springsteen
3Highway 29
Vocals, Guitar, KeyboardsBruce Springsteen
BassJim Hanson
Drums, PercussionGary Mallaber
KeyboardsChuck Plotkin
Pedal Steel GuitarMarty Rifkin
ViolinSoosie Tyrell*
Vocals, GuitarBruce Springsteen
5Sinaloa Cowboys
Vocals, Guitar, KeyboardsBruce Springsteen
6The Line
Vocals, Guitar, KeyboardsBruce Springsteen
7Balboa Park
Vocals, Guitar, KeyboardsBruce Springsteen
8Dry Lightning
BassGary Tallent*
DrumsGary Mallaber
KeyboardsDanny Federici
ViolinSoosie Tyrell*
Vocals, GuitarBruce Springsteen
9The New Timer
Vocals, GuitarBruce Springsteen
10Across The Border
Backing VocalsLisa Lowell, Patti Scialfa
DrumsGary Mallaber
Keyboards, AccordionDanny Federici
Pedal Steel GuitarMarty Rifkin
Violin, Backing VocalsSoosie Tyrell*
Vocals, Guitar, HarmonicaBruce Springsteen
11Galveston Bay
Vocals, Guitar, KeyboardsBruce Springsteen
12My Best Was Never Good Enough
Vocals, Guitar, KeyboardsBruce Springsteen

Companies, etc.



Recorded and mixed at Thrill Hill.
Mastered at A&M Mastering Studios, L.A.

Many thanks to the following sources:

Journey to Nowhere, by Dale Maharidge, with Photographs by Michael Williamson (The Dial Press, 1985)
A Season for Justice, by Morris Dees (Charles Scribner's Sons, 1191)
"Children of the Border," by Sebastian Rotella, The Los Angeles Times, April 3, 1993
"California's Illicit Farm Belt Export," by Mark Arax and Tom Grordon, The Los Angeles Times, March 13, 1995
John Ford's The Grapes of Wrath, written by Nunnally Johnson, based on the novel by John Steinbeck, a Twentieth Century-Fox Film

Love To Patti, Evan, Jessie & Sam

© 1995 Bruce Springsteen
℗ 1995 Bruce Springsteen

Barcode and Other Identifiers

  • Barcode (Text): 0 7464-67484-2 8
  • Barcode (Scanned): 074646748428
  • Rights Society: ASCAP
  • Matrix / Runout (Variant 1): E3 1A CK67484 06
  • Mastering SID Code (Variant 1): IFPI L423
  • Pressing Plant ID (Variant 1): P 98
  • Matrix / Runout (Variant 2): E3 1A CK67484 05
  • Mastering SID Code (Variant 2): IFPI L423
  • Pressing Plant ID (Variant 2): P 49
  • Matrix / Runout (Variant 3): E3 1A CK67484 09
  • Mastering SID Code (Variant 3): IFPI L423
  • Pressing Plant ID (Variant 3): P 98
  • Matrix / Runout (Variant 4): E3 1A CK67484 03
  • Mastering SID Code (Variant 4): IFPI L423
  • Pressing Plant ID (Variant 4): P 22
  • Matrix / Runout (Variant 5): E3 1A CK67484 02
  • Mastering SID Code (Variant 5): IFPI L423
  • Pressing Plant ID (Variant 5): P 99
  • Matrix / Runout (Variant 6): E3 1A CK67484 05
  • Mastering SID Code (Variant 6): IFPI L423
  • Pressing Plant ID (Variant 6): P 57

Other Versions (5 of 75)

View All
Title (Format)LabelCat#CountryYear
The Ghost Of Tom Joad (CD, Album, Stereo)Columbia, ColumbiaCOL 481650 2, 481650 2Europe1995
The Ghost Of Tom Joad (LP, Album)ColumbiaC 67484US1995
New Submission
The Ghost Of Tom Joad (CD, Album, Promo)ColumbiaSAMPCD 3066Europe1995
Recently Edited
The Ghost Of Tom Joad (Cassette, Album)ColumbiaCT 67484Canada1995
The Ghost Of Tom Joad (Cassette, Album)Columbia, ColumbiaCOL 481650 4, 481650 4Europe1995



  • streetmouse's avatar
    To understand this album, one needs to understand John Steinbeck’s “The Grapes of Wrath.” The story being set during the Great Depression of 1929, where the novel focuses on the Joads, a poor family of tenant farmers driven from their Oklahoma home by drought, economic hardship, agricultural industry changes, and bank foreclosures forcing tenant farmers like themselves out of work. Due to their nearly hopeless situation and in part because they are trapped in the Dust Bowl, the Joads set out for California, along with thousands of other "Okies", seeking jobs, land, dignity, and a future. Tom Joad is fresh from prison, and while many suggest that Jim Casy (a preacher of dubious description) embodied Steinbeck’s main philosophical beliefs. Tom Joad was is entirely flawed, very human, and is the novel’s man character, though not the protagonist, that person is never realized. Tom Joad for all he’s lacking is the one who shows the most development and redemption through an education of the heart.

    The Ghost of Tom Joad is a paradoxically purposely flawed album, where Springsteen attempts to convey through music the ability to rise above life’s painful limitations and meanest of fates. One is left realizing, especially after reading Bruce’s autobiography, how aptly the life of Bruce and his family dovetail into the Steinbeck narrative. Essentially what Bruce for some reason was attempting to do was to encourage his listeners to remain brave in spite of the adversities taking place in America in 1995, when Bill Clinton was being impeached, Mississippi was the last state to abolish slavery, the Oklahoma City bombing killed 168, radical patriot groups were on the rise, the Unabomber was still taking lives, Simpson’s gloves were too tight for his hands, temperatures across the country hit an all time high, it was the 50th anniversary of the atomic bomb drop on Japan, and Bruce, like the rest of us, was caught up in the middle of this mess. That being said, The Ghost of Tom Joad envisions “The Grapes of Wrath” from a slightly skewed angle, revealing a different side story, revealing people who don’t abide by or within the ruins of life, a collection of dark, nearly grim tales of haunting characters cut off from their own hearts and the purposes they once strived for, where through Springsteen’s verse, we come to see that nearly not a single one of these characters get out with both their bodies and spirits intact, and for the few that do, they become desolate creatures with nothing but prayers to fill their empty days.

    This is Springsteen’s attempt to give voice to those in America who have no voice, to let the expressions of their hearts walk in the light of day. It’s never really clear if Bruce is seeking to channel the ghost of Tom Joad or to bring forth, perhaps from his audience, another of that ilk, a savior for our times. It’s certainly possible to see this record as an extension of Nebraska, but I think not, believing that Nebraska was merely the stepping stone that excited this vision into being. Those who see similarities do so based only on the stripped down nature of both albums, but that’s merely part of the step to get here, and not at all associated with the story manifested on The Ghost of Tom Joad.

    While I never kept a single song from this album, the very nature of its existence proved to be entirely prophetic for the next twenty-five years, and perhaps will be long into the future. All of this of course means that this is a very somber experience backed by primarily acoustic guitars and solo verse, where at times the songs appear to be bleeding into and out of each other. Whether this is conceptual or by accident is debatable, where the drama of the individual stories gets mix and even lost with in the confines and context of other stories, though that also may have been a considered effect. I would suggest this is the case, as at the end of “Grapes of Wrath,” Tom Joad comes to the realization that if he sincerely wishes to make a difference for himself and his family, he must stand up and embrace all poor families, embodying the ideal of being a socialist super hero to everyone, everywhere.

    This is a dynamic album, yet again, I can’t for the life of me see myself sitting through it even one more time. Being socially aware, I don’t need all of this tossed in my face, and if I weren’t socially responsible, I probably wouldn’t be listening to Springsteen to begin with. Of course this begs the question, “To whom was Springsteen singing, to whom was his finger pointing?”

    Review by Jenell Kesler


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