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Cowboy Junkies — Thunder Road
Album: 'Neath Your Covers Part 1
Avg rating:
5.5

Your rating:
Total ratings: 294









Released: 2004
Length: 5:00
Plays (last 30 days): 0
The screen door slams, Mary's dress waves
Like a vision she dances across the porch as the radio plays
Roy Orbison singing for the lonely
Hey, that's me and I want you only
Don't turn me home again, I just can't face myself alone again
Don't run back inside, darling, you know just what I'm here for
So you're scared and you're thinking that maybe we ain't that young anymore
Show a little faith, there's magic in the night
You ain't a beauty but, hey, you're alright
Oh, and that's alright with me

You can hide 'neath your covers and study your pain
Make crosses from your lovers, throw roses in the rain
Waste your summer praying in vain
For a savior to rise from these streets
Well now, I ain't no hero, that's understood
All the redemption I can offer, girl, is beneath this dirty hood
With a chance to make it good somehow
Hey, what else can we do now?
Except roll down the window and let the wind blow back your hair
Well, the night's busting open, these two lanes will take us anywhere
We got one last chance to make it real
To trade in these wings on some wheels
Climb in back, heaven's waiting on down the tracks

Oh oh, come take my hand
We're riding out tonight to case the promised land
Oh oh oh oh, Thunder Road
Oh, Thunder Road, oh, Thunder Road
Lying out there like a killer in the sun
Hey, I know it's late, we can make it if we run
Oh oh oh oh, Thunder Road
Sit tight, take hold, Thunder Road

Well, I got this guitar and I learned how to make it talk
And my car's out back if you're ready to take that long walk
From your front porch to my front seat
The door's open but the ride ain't free
And I know you're lonely for words that I ain't spoken
But tonight we'll be free, all the promises'll be broken

There were ghosts in the eyes of all the boys you sent away
They haunt this dusty beach road in the skeleton frames of burned-out Chevrolets
They scream your name at night in the street
Your graduation gown lies in rags at their feet
And in the lonely cool before dawn
You hear their engines rolling on
But when you get to the porch, they're gone on the wind
So Mary, climb in
It's a town full of losers, I'm pulling out of here to win
Comments (110)add comment
 teapot wrote:
The best cover of this song is by Frank Turner.
 
I just listened to yours —-have you heard the one i'm talking about?

Gaah — another cover that didn't need to happen.  There are certain songs that just can't be improved upon, and this is one of them.  I want to rate it lower than the 3 I gave it, but out of respect to Springsteen, I can't. 

If you want to listen to an acoustic version of this song, you can find one on Bruce's "Live/1975-85" album.  Now that version, Yes, a solid 10.  But not this one

The best cover of this song is by Frank Turner.
Bonnie "Prince" Billy and Tortoise do a GREAT cover of this!!
Folks, this just needs a remix. Bring the band up loud, and drop the vocal back into it. Not because it is a bad vocal, it's not, the song just needs a loud band. The end of the song with just the band was nice...
Good cover, but lacks the emotion of the original.
Gee , that's like saying that picture of Mona Lisa is nice but the original is better,,, duh 
Can't say I like this cover, but it makes me realize how much of my overall enjoyment of this song is because of the lyrics/story.
 nate917 wrote:
I'm kind of surprised at the negativity (ear bleach was just funny).  This is a cool interpretation of a great song.  Did the same ones of you hate their (similarly interpreted) cover of Sweet Jane?

And those of you who said yes, don't you at least want to make out with Margot or her brother?

 
Margot maybe, not her brother.   {#Lol}
I like this. Original is better but this is nice
Big fan of CJ. This song - not so much.
This is an enjoyable version of this song.
I'm kind of surprised at the negativity (ear bleach was just funny).  This is a cool interpretation of a great song.  Did the same ones of you hate their (similarly interpreted) cover of Sweet Jane?

And those of you who said yes, don't you at least want to make out with Margot or her brother?

My general feeling about covers/remakes/copies, in any art form, is that when faced with a choice between the original and the copy, I will always choose the original because it has a legitimacy that is undeniable. That's not to say that all covers are bad, in fact some are great.

My feeling about this cover specifically is that it makes me want to turn my radio temporarily off...which I did. Conversely, if the Boss' version had come on, I'd have turned it up.

JMO
Once again, junk from the Junkies.  She has NO feeling for what she's singing.  Please - no more.

Heh. Came here to express my extreme distaste with this, and found I'd already given it a 2.

Musta used ear bleach and forgotten that I'd heard it. Wish it'd stay'd that way.
I think they missed a real chance to do an ironic version of Thunder Road. Leave the basic arrangement alone, but focus on the lyrics as wishful thinking. Nothing is going to get better, sorry.

At least it would be a different take than the original. 
 unclehud wrote:
Let me add to the pile of positive comments ... I like this, perhaps even a lot.

Covers provide an opportunity for us to see lyrics, melodies, or harmonic constructions through a different set of eyes/ears/instruments.  For example, the Junkies convey the original's urgency and energy in their typically understated way.  I really like how they mimic the E Street sax work with a Cowboy harmonica.
 
Yo.  Saved me some typing.

 FlamingLotus wrote:
As much as I love both Cowboy Junkies and The Boss, as well as cover songs in general, this might take a few listens to settle in.  CJ do such great covers of Townes Van Zandt, Neil Young, etc.  Perhaps a less-rockin' Bruce song was in order...
 
As much as I don't want to agree, I do agree.  Alas...
Man.. If one could distill the essence of CJ it could be used in tranquilizer darts with great effect.
 lmic wrote:
Square peg in a round hole? Margot's voice, spare and strange, is perfect to interpret Sweet Jane...but just too idiosyncratic to encompass this towering, operatic, rock standard. IMHO.

 
I agree. This is terrible. She sings it like a "Junkie".  You are not supposed to "nod" out while singing an epic anthem, Margot? 

Awful.
As much as I love both Cowboy Junkies and The Boss, as well as cover songs in general, this might take a few listens to settle in.  CJ do such great covers of Townes Van Zandt, Neil Young, etc.  Perhaps a less-rockin' Bruce song was in order...
this song was written for them, but somehow they missed it...in the arrangement, should have shifted around the chords a bit. Maybe even adjust the melody a bit

Square peg in a round hole? Margot's voice, spare and strange, is perfect to interpret Sweet Jane...but just too idiosyncratic to encompass this towering, operatic, rock standard. IMHO.

Let me add to the pile of positive comments ... I like this, perhaps even a lot.

Covers provide an opportunity for us to see lyrics, melodies, or harmonic constructions through a different set of eyes/ears/instruments.  For example, the Junkies convey the original's urgency and energy in their typically understated way.  I really like how they mimic the E Street sax work with a Cowboy harmonica.
The original & Melissa Etheridge's cover far superior imho. This lacks passion.
If this wasn't a cover of a great classic would anyone even notice this song .... I don't mind it but play the original.
The Darjeeling version. Now with less passion and energy! {#Yawn}
 tom-kenna wrote:
outstanding cover of an epic song
 
Definitely.  A different slant than the original—more poignant.

 rluking wrote:
Ugh.  Meh.  And Feh.
 

{#Yes}

Bruce's original is a classic. What does this cover add? Not much, in my opinion. I did like the CJ's cover of Sweet Jane, BTW.

Cowboy Junkies always makes me happy.
Ugh.  Meh.  And Feh.  Oh, I forget Blech.
outstanding cover of an epic song
I'm not normally crazy about the Junkies and I like Bruce's version better, but this is nice.  It makes you sit up and take note of the lyrics.
I pretty much like this version. I like her voice and the lyrics are easier to understand - a much cleaner sound.
Never really a Bruce fan, but both versions are good I think.

It's funny. When I was back in art school this song came on the radio at lunchtime. My girlfriend and I were hanging with others in the parking lot and the line came on ..."you ain't a beauty, but hey, you're alright". My girl exploded - "what kind of crap is that?! If a guy said that shit to me I'd tell him to go fuck himself!" We all laughed our asses off. I think someone even shot a soda out their nose!

Good times they were.
 Proclivities wrote:I completely agree with your formulaic comment!  The Junkies pretty much play and sing like their name...slow and nodding out.  Tragic for them to cover an anthem like "Thunder Road"!


It's not a bad version really, but there's something too formulaic about this band (to me).  I suppose any number of artists could be accused of the same thing, though.

 



this is not awful....but it just does not have the passion, the angst that the original had/has. of course hearing bruce when he was young/and breaking ground (and so were we) he spoke to our personal angst, and revealed his own.... sounds like the band want's to run hard and explode, and the singer just is not able to keep up.... a 6 in memory of the real thing.
 gazza wrote:
should have stayed in bed....
 
she simply moved from the bed to the stool.

They were like -"crap that tune has too much punch and emotion. Lets monotone it down a bit. Ahh that's better." Cowboy Junkies,the mayonnaise of rock.
 romeotuma wrote:


This song is good for the ears...
 
Not mine!! I love the Junkies, but this is a terrible interpretation of this song. Ugh! {#Headache}
 rah wrote:
sacrilege.
 
Well, sorry if this comment is sacrilege, but I like this one better. It shows what a wonderful song it is, and what a fantastic songwriter Bruuuuuuuce is, but I like the song done in this style better.
sacrilege.
 rcurrier wrote:
Not a beauty, but, hey, it's all right.

I prefer Bruce's version, but I don't think this is nearly as bad as other commenters. 

 
It's not a bad version really, but there's something too formulaic about this band (to me).  I suppose any number of artists could be accused of the same thing, though.



This song is good for the ears...


 radiojunkie wrote:
Have to agree with all the negatives on this one. Yeah, I like other CJs, but not this.  

I couldn't agree with you more.
Nice try, but when you start with a sucky song well...
Not a beauty, but, hey, it's all right.

I prefer Bruce's version, but I don't think this is nearly as bad as other commenters. 

I adore the original but this cover is quickly growing on me.

The first line of the original works better: "The screen door s-lams..." ("slam" being 2 syllables)

In this version, it merely slams.

Otherwise, not by any means a disasterous cover.


For crying out loud - if you're going to cover Bruce you might want to raise your voice at least once. Shameful.
Not really the type of song that sounds good with every molecule of energy drained out of it.
Guess these guys are trying to score another homerun with a unexpected cover.  Ick.
Covers are a form of flattery, but when your compliment sinks like a turd in a punch bowl, it's best not to record it. Feh.
Knee-jerk {#Stop}!

slowing a song down to a snails crawl does not constitute rearrangment or additional emotional impact.


Have to agree with all the negatives on this one. Yeah, I like other CJs, but not this. And that fiddle instead of Clarence's sax — now THAT'S a true abomination!
 bindi wrote:
I like this - never heard it before.  They do some interesting covers.  I much prefer their Sweet Jane to the original. .. . sorry, Lou.
 
Agreed.  Like Lou, like Bruce.  I'll bet the original authors are flattered.

 guiguy wrote:
I too love the CJunkies big time,  yet this cover just zaps the energy from the original and leaves
this version very flat indeed; boring.{#Sleep}
 
Replying to myself—4 to 3; this is as bad a cover as it gets......

how about some... i don't know... dynamics?  damn is this monotonous.
Good god, I've seen Holiday Inn bar bands do better than this. Thunder Road is about an incredibly deep emotion. The CJs are just going through the motions. Sorry but this is way beyond an abomination. It is criminal. Cargo Cult cover song. No understanding of what it's about at all. As if they just bought a copy of the sheet music and played it. Sort of like a Czechoslovakian band singing who don't speak English singing to phonics. Ok, I think you get the point.
Agree on 10 for Sweet Jane, but can't say that anything is "much better" than the Boss's rendition. That would put it up in the 12 range and the ratings don't go that high. And I am not a blind Boss fan; the original is just one fine song.

 HarrO wrote:
Much better than the original. (Sorry Jersey folks). And bindi's right, their "Sweet Jane" is just superb. 10's for both.
 


Much better than the original. (Sorry Jersey folks). And bindi's right, their "Sweet Jane" is just superb. 10's for both.


I like this - never heard it before.  They do some interesting covers.  I much prefer their Sweet Jane to the original. .. . sorry, Lou.

I like the junkies and I like Springstein's Thunder Road.

This cover is good as long as I think of them as separate songs.


Margo! Margo!
I too love the CJunkies big time,  yet this cover just zaps the energy from the original and leaves
this version very flat indeed; boring.{#Sleep}
Well, I love the Cowboy Junkies, but this is an abomination :-) It took a while to realize what she was singing, then I thought, why????
God I love Radio Paradise! Keep playing these polorizing songs that get people so worked up. Their self rightous critiques are so fun to read!
Hard to imagine anyone could approach the original, and this shouldn't have even been imagined, let alone recorded. OTOH, it's one of the few times you can actually understand the lyrics she's singing--don't know why she bothered, since we already know them.
Tori Amos does a pretty good cover of this song. Better than Cowboy Junkies version, for sure.
Gregorama wrote:
This would repulse even Beavis. She has got to be the biggest consistently downer female vocalist around. She must have been through some really depressing times in her life to convey her depressive moods so readily.
Was the original more upbeat? Bruce's passion in the original still evokes intense emotions in me (especially the early live versions), she simply reflects in in a different way.
This would repulse even Beavis. She has got to be the biggest consistently downer female vocalist around. She must have been through some really depressing times in her life to convey her depressive moods so readily.
Nope.
should have stayed in bed....
Works for me until the drums come in. Then it totally falls apart. I lurve The Boss (saw him in Seattle in 1980) and I lurve the Cowboys (Saw them at Ravinia (https://www.ravinia.org/) in 2004). But not here, not now.
Just can't get back the glory days of Trinity Sessions and The Caution Horses, can they? Too bad. 'Cause she's got a powerful voice when she wants to---witness "Powderfinger"
Well it was nice to understand the lyrics for a change. Oh, there is something in there besides noise (it was pretty good noise though).
Toothless, soulless and sappy.
shakylegs wrote:
Fuck this band. Margo Timmins and her little myrmidons made fame by folks sharing tapes of her music when no radios would play her. Then she records a cover, gets college radio play and forgot everyone on the way. So, she only succeeds by copying others. Which? Whatever, you do what you can. However, she strongly supports RIAA rules in Canada, even giving speeches for culture ministers who receive Hollywood money. https://www.technewsworld.com/story/38002.html
What are you TALKING about? Their second (?) album, The Trinity Sessions, remains a high-water mark for music to this day. On which they played a few covers, including a traditional song about gold miners, and some stunning originals. Even from a purely technical standpoint, The Trinity Sessions is amazing. ONE microphone, stationed in the middle of a church, recording straight to digital long before that was common. No mixing board, just them and a mic. That album is a good one to use for auditioning stereo gear, due to its 'pure' production. Yeah, maybe they got big and forgot the ones what brung 'em, but to say they gained fame doing nothing but covers is a load. I've always loved Cowboy Junkies. Can you tell? They have a unique sound and incredible talent. They may be total jerks too, but that doesn't change how I feel about their music. Peace, c.
I kind of wish these guys would just slit their wrists and get it over with. Plodding and depressing!
This plods along lacking any of the original intensity. The very definition of Ho Hum.
kazuma wrote:
Hmmm ... I was expecting the worst, but it's not bad.
Yeah...it is.
This worked better when I heard them play it live in 2001. Now, not so much.
seamless seque... Cowboy Junkies - Thunder Road Pearl Jam - Yellow Ledbetter
Fuck this band. Margo Timmins and her little myrmidons made fame by folks sharing tapes of her music when no radios would play her. Then she records a cover, gets college radio play and forgot everyone on the way. So, she only succeeds by copying others. Which? Whatever, you do what you can. However, she strongly supports RIAA rules in Canada, even giving speeches for culture ministers who receive Hollywood money. https://www.technewsworld.com/story/38002.html
Never was a huge Springsteen fan, but this song always exhibited the passion in both his singing and the E Street Band's backing. Normally, I like CJ, but they've turned this song into background music at best.
Love the original; love CJ, but... :yawn:
Meh. Kind of insipid. They got the rock-out knob up to 3, maybe 3 1/2.
compared to the original, this just drags on.
great cover.
Started out giving me goosebumps. Then it lost it at the end. Disappointing.
Ranks in the mud with Sweet Jane IMHO.
pdhski wrote:
I'm with you - it loses the intensity here.
ditto
hujoppi wrote:
Wow! Bold interpretation. This song has "something" in it... Spark with capital S. :music:
... Must be the air up there hujoppi as with the air down here, she's a Sparklin'! ... :sunny:
JrzyTmata wrote:
I don't like it.
I'm with you - it loses the intensity here.
I liked the slow, melancholy "read" through most of the song, and it's good to hear a true re-visioning of a well-known classic. At the end, though, the instrumental coda turns this version into just a pale copy of the original, and wrecks what could have been an interesting interpretation. Nice try, Junkies, but ultimately not successful.
I don't like it.
I like it. I'm generally more a fan of Bruce's accoustic work (it showcases the lyrics better, for one thing) than of the harder stuff, and this version is more along those lines.
I dig the CJ, yet this cover is bland at best....now sweet jane is another story.....
Wow! Bold interpretation. This song has "something" in it... Spark with capital S. :music:
I don't know about this version of Thunder Road. On first listening, I miss the piano for one thing. That and the lack of a sense of grandiosity the original has seem to leave an empty husk of the original. Margo and CJ do some great covers (Sweet Jane) but this one doesn't seem to sparkle. Maybe upon further listening it'll grow on me.
:snooty:
Hmmm ... I was expecting the worst, but it's not bad.
No thank you
I like it. Great alternate take on the Bruce classic.
I can live without this song.
Not too shabby. Always wanted to hear a chick sing this...
Love the live Springsteen version on the live album set (may be one of my all time favourites). This is ok, but lacks the heartfelt longing and desperation of the original.
:chef:
No thanks, it got better as it went on, but that's hardly a glowing endorsement.
Let's listen first, then do the rate.