Though it gets a little jazzy at times, “Kitty’s Back” by [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Bruce Springsteen[/lastfm] is nonetheless classic rock from a classic rocker. Moreover, it comes from that classic period in the Boss’ career when he had already developed his sound and mastered his trade, but had yet to be discovered by the mainstream and was still knocking about playing smaller venues. The video captures some of the feel of that era, even if it was minted a few years later.
“Kitty’s Back” appeared on Springsteen’s second album, The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle. Despite the ‘shuffle’ in the name, his backing band had yet to acquire its famous ‘E-Street Band’ moniker. That would come later.
While critically well-received, and now considered one of the great rock albums of all time, it hit at a time in his career (1973) when the artist was still struggling to find success. As it turned out, success would find him on the very next album he turned out, his massively-successful breakthrough, Born to Run.
While songs like “Rosalita” and “Incident on 57th Street” might come more readily to other people’s minds when they think of the album, “Kitty’s Back” is a worthy song in its own right. In contrast to some of the others, it has a much bleaker outlook, focusing on the lives of characters from the seedy, depressed side of town. In this case, a man (Catlong) loves a woman (Kitty) so much that he can’t help but take her back after she has left him for another, more well-heeled man (Big Pretty) and then returns. It’s the sort of hopeful hopelessness that is a common theme of Springsteen’s lower-class pastiches.
True to its jazz influences, “Kitty’s Back” is often played as a jam tune by the E Street Band, and renditions of the song in concert that top 15 minutes are not uncommon.
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