Click Image to Visit the Pecan Grove Press Web Page for Poetry from Paradise Valley


Poetry From Paradise Valley

Pecan Grove Press has released an anthology of poems, a sampling of works published in Valparaiso Poetry Review during its first decade, from the original 1999-2000 volume to the 2009-2010 volume.

Poetry from Paradise Valley includes a stellar roster of 50 poets. Among the contributors are a former Poet Laureate of the United States, a winner of the Griffin International Prize, two Pulitzer Prize winners, two National Book Award winners, two National Book Critics Circle winners, six finalists for the National Book Award, four finalists for the National Book Critics Circle Award, two finalists for the Pulitzer Prize, and a few dozen recipients of other honors, such as fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, etc.

Readers are encouraged to visit the Poetry from Paradise Valley page at the publisher's web site, where ordering information about the book can be found.

Best Books of Indiana 2011: Finalist. Judges' Citation: "Poetry from Paradise Valley is an excellent anthology that features world-class poetry, including the work of many artists from the Midwest, such as Jared Carter, Annie Finch, David Baker, and Allison Joseph. It’s an eclectic and always interesting collection where poems on similar themes flow into each other. It showcases the highest caliber of U. S. poetry."
—Indiana Center for the Book, Indiana State Library

Friday, April 18, 2008

Danny Federici: In Memory

In memory of Danny Federici, a keyboardist in Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band for forty years who died yesterday after a three-year battle with melanoma, I offer the above 1975 video of the group performing “4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy).” Danny can be seen playing the accordion in this number.

I must acknowledge this song may be one of those I have listened to most often over the last thirty-five years. I grew up in New York and would hang out at clubs where the band played before they became famous. In the early days, I recall obtaining tickets at the door for only two dollars on nights of performances by Springsteen and the E Street Band. Eventually, their music became a constant soundtrack for my friends and me, and I am sure my early poems were influenced somewhat by the wonderful lyrics of the first few albums that seemed so poetic to us.

Of course, I continued to attend Springsteen concerts throughout the decades, even traveling back east for each tour so that I could enjoy those huge events with my brother and others in New Jersey, particularly feeling at home when the arena was named after Brendan Byrne, or across the river at Madison Square Garden. My iPod contains an extended list of songs by Springsteen and the E Street Band. However, today, as I look back at early concerts like the one in this video, I maintain fond memories for the nights I first discovered the energy and excitement the band always displayed, particularly in the more intimate settings of the smaller clubs, and I remember those sets that seemed to turn into all-night parties—especially when others like Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes joined in the fun on stage.

Today, I am holding my original LP album of The Wild, The Innocent, and the E Street Shuffle on which “4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)” first appeared in 1973. The cardboard cover is a little wrinkly from age, but the record still plays on my old turntable, and right now I prefer it to my cd or the iPod because the slightly scratchy sound seems just right.


Sandy, the fireworks are hailin' over Little Eden tonight
Forcin' a light into all those stony faces left stranded on this warm July
Down in town the circuit's full of switchblade lovers, so fast, so shiny, so sharp
As the wizards play down on Pinball Way on the boardwalk way past dark
And the boys from the casino dance with their shirts open like Latin lovers on the shore
Chasin' all them silly New York virgins by the score

Sandy, the aurora is risin' behind us
Those pier lights, our carnival life forever
Oh, love me tonight, for I may never see you again
Hey, Sandy girl... my baby

Now the greasers, they tramp the streets or get busted for sleepin' on the beach all night
Them boys in their high heels, ah Sandy, their skins are so white
And me, I just got tired of hangin' in them dusty arcades, bangin' them pleasure machines
Chasin' the factory girls underneath the boardwalk, where they all promised to unsnap their jeans
And you know that Tilt-a-Whirl down on the south beach drag? I got on it last night and my shirt got caught
And it kept me spinnin', they didn't think I'd ever get off

Sandy, the aurora is risin' behind us
Those pier lights, our carnival life on the water
Runnin', laughin' underneath the boardwalk with the boss's daughter
I remember, Sandy girl... my baby

Sandy, the waitress I was seein' lost her desire for me
I spoke with her last night, she said she won't set herself on fire for me anymore
She worked that joint under the boardwalk, she was always the girl you saw boppin' down the beach with the radio
Kids say last night she was dressed like a star in one of the cheap little seaside bars, and I saw her parked with her lover boy out on the Kokomo
Did you hear, the cops finally busted Madame Marie for tellin' fortunes better than they do?
For me this carnival life's through-- you ought to quit this scene too

Sandy, the aurora is risin' behind us
Those pier lights, our carnival life forever
Oh, love me tonight and I promise I'll love you forever
Oh, I mean it, Sandy girl.


Anne Haines said...

I had the privilege of seeing Bruce & the E Street Band on 3/20 of this year in Indianapolis, when Danny made a brief "guest" appearance on 3 songs and then returned for the 5-song encore. They played "Sandy" and it was just one of those truly magical moments (and followed that with "Kitty's Back" ... TOO much fun!). I was so thrilled to see him back onstage and was truly hoping his appearance meant there was cause for optimism. Alas ... it turned out to be Danny's last show.

One always wants to be "in the room" for a particularly historic E Street show, but not for a reason like this.

I can't imagine Bruce ever playing "Sandy" again, not without Danny. What a huge, sad loss.

Issa's Untidy Hut said...


Thanks very much for the post with the video in memory of Danny Federici. As a Jersey boy who lived at the shore for 11 years and is now living in Pittsburgh, it is much appreciated.

I am really enjoying your blog, which I've linked to via the Lilliput Review blog, Issa's Untidy Hut. Your recent notice on the passing of Rochelle Ratner, who I had the privilege of publishing in Lillie, was the first I heard the news.

Thanks for the great work.

Don @ Lilliput Review

Rob Kistner said...

What a wonderful post in tribute to the falling of another artist of significance. At 61, I've watched way too many drop away. Reminds me of the Elton John song entitled "Talking Old Soldiers" from Tumbleweed Connection, perhaps his most poetic album.

"Well do they know what it's like
To have a graveyard as a friend
`Cause that's where they are boy, all of them
Don't seem likely I'll get friends like that again"

Thank you for a great post, and a marvelous video of Bruce and the Boys!

Image & Verse

Bar L. said...

I just found this post. I am writing about this song today. Great blog. I've seen Bruce 21 times.