Take eight-and-a-half minutes and watch this video of Bruce Springsteen and friends singing "Pay Me My Money Down" (from his Pete Seeger CD) on Conan O'Brien. You'll be very glad you did.
I am very happy to see this effort by Springsteen to resurrect some of the old folk standards and maybe spark a new revival and inspire another generation of folk singers and writers that are less self-indulgent than folk singers have tended to be lately. Not that I am against introspection or personal story-telling, but that we are ripe for a more universal popular art, something that takes larger themes and communicates them and not in the slick package of production or the obscure flannel circuit.
Watching Springsteen pulling in O'Brien for the last jump at the chorus reminds us that this is exuberant music: transcendent, flawed and deeply joyful. We need to be done with morbid tunes and get some feet tapping.
Hat tip to Sheila O'Malley, herself and her blog two pure joys.