Tim Buckley - The Earth Is Broken

First performance: 28/09/1968


Bruce covered the song only once : 
1968-09-28 Off Broad Street Coffee House, Red Bank, NJ (Early) 
Two shows, double bill, with Bruce Springsteen headlining and performing solo/acoustic and a folk group called The Founders opening. 
Some of the titles from the setlist are covers - "If I Needed Someone" is a Beatles tune, "Hey Joe" was covered by several artists in the mid-late 60s (most famously by Jimi Hendrix) and "Wayfaring Stranger" is a traditional song. "Fly Against The Wind" and "It's Too Late" are titles Brucebase has been unable to match to any artists of the period. The remaining three, "The Earth Is Broken", "Carnival Song" and "Troubadour", are known 1967-68 songs titles by singer/songwriter Tim Buckley, a favorite of Springsteen's at the time. The mentioned 9 song setlist emanates from an alleged 83 minute audience recording of Springsteen performing solo and live, sometime in 1968. The audio is not specifically linked to this show, details have been placed here merely as a logical reference point. A private collector claims to have this audio in their collection (obtained many, many years ago). The sound quality is alleged to be quite good. Brucebase was informed of the audio several years ago and was provided with basic details of titles/running time by the actual collector who claims to have it. However Brucebase has been unable to listen to even snippets of the audio and, as such, we cannot verify that the claim is genuine. Intriguingly however, one of the song titles provided, "Inside The Castle Walls" has subsequently turned out to be a verified Springsteen composition from this era.The existence of this composition only became known in 2005, which lends some credence (but not compelling proof) to the claim the audio is real.


The earth is broken is a song written by Tim Buckley and taken from the live album Dream Letter: Live in London 1968.
The album was recorded in Queen Elizabeth Hall, London, England on October 7, 1968 (mistakenly credited as being recorded on July 10 due to a confusion between American and British formatting of dates). Due to a lack of available funds Buckley was unable to tour with regular bass player John Miller and conga player Carter "C.C." Collins. The concert instead features bassist Danny Thompson (from British folk group Pentangle), guitarist Lee Underwood and vibraphone player David Friedman. The concert features songs from Buckley's second album, Goodbye and Hello and the soon to be released Happy Sad. Also featured are the songs "Happy Time", which appeared on the 1969 album, Blue Afternoon, and a cover of Fred Neil's "Dolphins", which would appear on Sefronia in 1973. The "Carnival Song" which appears here is not the song of the same name from Goodbye and Hello, but an entirely different composition. Five other tracks from this set had, at the time of Dream Letter's release in 1990, never been heard on record before. 

Other cover versions

Bruce on the artist

Tim Buckley was the one who inspired Springsteen to buy a 12-string guitar. 
Sprngsteen was very much inspired at the time by Tim Buckley, emulating his song-writing style and vocal approach, as well as playing a 12- string guitar ( because was the instrument played by Buckley )  
Taken from the book : Bruce Springsteen, All the songs, the story behind every track ( Philippe Margotin & Jean- Michel Guesdon ) : 


Oh, now my brother's been taken away
Gone are the old times when we used to say
Oh, a woman was younger, she knew what to do
Oh, but I look around me, now that's not so
I'm lost on that open road, no peace do I find
Maybe the wind'll blow a melody and, and ease my mind
Soon love is broken, they'll take you away
Oh, the wars they been growing as no relief
And the old men who ruled them, oh, they're just like thieves
They rob from the sunshine, oh, the air ain't so clean
Our rivers are dirty where once we could see
A smile of your lady friend looking down
Look at that river, hey, did you ever shiver?
Well, the earth is broken there is no one to save
I remember quite freely only yesterday
Ah, the letter I read from you, read this way
Take care lonesome Timmy, ah, don't you start
Thinking you're the only, one year that's gone
Out on your lonesome road, hey, lend a hand to your friend
Yes, he's just as lonely and the wind keeps you cold
Remember the rivers that once did flow clean
Ah, sometimes I wonder how this old world keeps spinning 'round?
All the old folks have gone west, Lord, preparing to die
All except for a few of us, hangers on
Living each day with trivial hearts
Just stop once in a while, cry over the news
In some foreign far city your brother's shot down
Because there was a reason, a gun had a hand
And the old man killed youth, squeezed down its hope
Now, I'm just waiting brother, waiting for the end
Soon in my country there won't be a friend
Each one is trying so hard to defend
That one, one last heartbeat before he's tugged away
Lost in the mechanized, efficient world, logical skies
Ah, but no song was written on without a tear in your eyes
Are we the last ones, the last ones to try