I got it in the sense of bought it, but it didn’t click. Played it maybe a couple of times, not again. Until now, forty-four freaking years later.
It’s truly a face-palm moment – why didn’t I love this album to death first time around? Maybe because it’s not Chock Full O’ Songs© like its predecessor, the self-titled Nils Lofgren album. Nothing I could sing in the shower.
Cry Tough is one of the great guitar albums. His wiry, lithe playing slips right through all of it. That beautiful, instantly recognisable tone. He’s more a conversational player than confrontational. Like it’s a running commentary on the music, but when he does lift off, startling waterfalls of notes come out of nowhere – how the fuck did he DO that?
It’s produced by Al Kooper (who adds keys) and David Briggs, so it sounds fantastic. The rhythm section is wha-a-a-at?! – Chuck Rainey, Wornell Jones, Aynsley Dunbar, Jim Gordon. The feel of the album, apart from a couple of acoustic interludes, is closer to the funk workouts of Herbie Hancock at the time, within a rock context. You can imagine him playing with Miles more than Springsteen.
Anyway, right now, I’m making up for lost time with this beautiful shining gem of an album.
Perhaps you have albums you unfairly shelved for decades for reasons that were less than sound? I don’t imagine so.