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Big Man: Real Life and Tall Tales

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  • Posted October 15, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    More Tall Tales Than Real Stories

    Advance copy: Missing photos and Bruce Forward.

    For the casual Springsteen/E-Street Band fan looking for some items of general interest and a light/easy read - and one that enjoys fantasies or "tall tales" - it's an enjoyable read.
    If you're a hardcore fan - "Bruce tramp" - you will be disappointed by this book.

    I've read many of the Springsteen books out there and they are more like tributes to Bruce than an analysis of his music, the band, the performances, etc. I really thought that Clarence would write a more personal story but like many of the other books, it's a very sanitized version of Clarence and the band. Bruce has always been a private person and his management team have always protected his privacy. I've read that anyone involved with Springsteen must sign a confidentiality agreement - this must also include Clemons, since it's like Clarence was given "privacy guidelines" before he and Reos published this book.

    I'm hoping one day we will get the full, uncensored, unsanitized history of the E Street Band by either Bruce or a key member of the band.

    Some overall take aways from the book:

    * No detailed stories about the making of songs, some of the elite or unique performances and venues, no real details on personal or band relationships. No verbatim nor anecdotal behind the scenes stories.
    * There are so many things a "tramp" would want to know but 1/2 the book is spent on these fictional accounts of meetings with Dylan, Sinatra, Mailer etc. While some of them are entertaining, I would rather read about "actual" events.
    * Very sanitized! Typical of the type of books written about Springsteen and the band. It does not peel off the outside layers and get at the heart of things.
    * Has a lot of "F" words - which I found surprising - just thought that Clarence would have made the book more family friendly (not that I was offended).
    * Reo is a close friend of Clemons and a TV producer.
    * Reo writes more about his own accomplishments and just heaps praise on Clarence and Bruce. He's seen many shows since 1975 and believes the 7/31/08 Giants Stadium and 8/30/08 Milwaukee (Harley Festival) shows were the best he's ever seen but acknowledges that every fan has their top 10 shows and many are different.
    * Most of the book is focused on the Rising and Magic tours since Reo followed the band during these tours - it seems that Reo wrote the actual book with input from Clemons.
    * Reo name drops throughout the book. Although he does make fun of himself for it by saying that "Elvis Presley once said he was a name dropper". :-)
    * During a show at SING SING prison the power went out and Clarence and Vini Lopez had to play the same song (Them Changes by Buddy Miles) over and over on sax and drums while Bruce danced around on the side of the stage. Towards the end, Bruce says "When we're done, you can all go home!" :-)
    * For the casual fan: An easy read (Fast and Light) - For hardcore fans, you just keep reading, anticipating and hoping for a personal story about Bruce and Clarence, etc. Note: Clemons does include compilations of conversations he and Bruce have had over the years to try and provide a feeling for their relationship - but they felt watered down.
    * The photo on the back of the Wild, Innocent and the E Street Shuffle album was taken directly after the band went su

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 14, 2009

    Huge disappointment

    This book did nothing to endear C to me whatsoever. I was a bigger fan before I read the book. There is precious little information about the E Street Band and Clarence's relationship with Springsteen except in the "legend" sections of the book which are admittedly tall tales. Clemons comes across as a prima donna and a racist. I was not impressed.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 10, 2009

    A Very Different kind of biography

    The story of the Big Man is very entertaining because it is not a typical biography. It is a series of stories which read more like a conversation. Definitely not boring. It is a must read for all fans of The E Street Band.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 4, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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