Bruce Springsteen – Downbound Train

I’m a lover of B sides. Downbound Train, Darlington County, and No Surrender were not the big hits off of Born In The USA but these are the ones I listen to the most.

This song starts off with I had a job, I had a girl, I had something going, mister, in this world and his life goes down from there. The poor guy had 3 jobs in the space of 3 minutes. The song has enough drama to be a soap opera but the riff and that great sound lift it up. Like the rest of the album, the song has a sound that is great.

What makes this album stand out…other than the great songs… is the mix that Bob Clearmountain did…everything is sharp and in focus…every guitar lick, vocal, and drum.

Thanks to deKE for recommending this song!

Tomorrow we will have a couple more from the album. This is not my favorite Bruce album but it’s tied to a great time in my life.

Downbound Train

I had a job, I had a girl
I had something going, mister, in this world
I got laid off down at the lumber yard
Our love went bad, times got hard
Now I work down at the car wash
Where all it ever does is rain
Don’t you feel like you’re a rider on a downbound train

She just said, “Joe, I gotta go
We had it once, we ain’t got it anymore”
She packed her bags, left me behind
She bought a ticket on the Central Line
Nights as I sleep, I hear that whistle whining
I feel her kiss in the misty rain
And I feel like I’m a rider on a downbound train

Last night I heard your voice
You were crying, crying, you were so alone
You said your love had never died
You were waiting for me at home
Put on my jacket, I ran through the woods
I ran till I thought my chest would explode
There in the clearing, beyond the highway
In the moonlight, our wedding house shone
I rushed through the yard
I burst through the front door, my head pounding hard
Up the stairs I climbed
The room was dark, our bed was empty
Then I heard that long whistle whine
And I dropped to my knees, hung my head and cried
Now I swing a sledge hammer on a railroad gang
Knocking down them cross ties, working in the rain
Now, don’t it feel like you’re a rider on a downbound train


Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

45 thoughts on “Bruce Springsteen – Downbound Train”

  1. Thanks for the shout out Max!

    This is one of my fav Bruce tunes ever. I love how he sings with conviction as if he is down and out. Springsteen gets right into the part of Joe on this track. Such a brilliant song as everything about it is pure sonic Gold.

    Thinking I’m going to put this album on any some point today!

    Thanks again…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. No problem…glad you liked it. Ever since I posted Going Down a few weeks ago…I’ve been listening to it again…feels like it’s the 80s again.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s funny as I was just finsihing up my Old Dude of Rock series which is now into 1987 (be posted in a couple od weeks) and I’m wondering how far into the 90’s I get before it sizzles out. lol. I should have at least 10 rock releases in the lean Metal years but you never know. lol

        Liked by 1 person

      2. After the mid nineties, rock as we knew it started to wither. I like some singles from the nineties but the passion wasn’t there.
        As far as popular stuff…but that is just me.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I hear ya. I was still buying Iron Maiden even wiht the singer change but the masses weren’t. An interesting time to look back on and spout off lol

        Liked by 1 person

      4. For me the best part was The Beatles Antohology and their popularity rising again. A new generation found out about them.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. This made me laugh – ‘The poor guy had 3 jobs in the space of 3 minutes’. ‘Downbound Train’ reminds me a lot of ‘The River’ especially how he uses and sings the bridges in both songs. I really like the sombre, low key way he sings DBT which reflects the mood of the piece. It’s a very atmospheric song and one of my favourites too off the album.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Matt I’m glad you brought that up…I was going to use the River as a reference but I think The River does it more in…I don’t know…an intellectual way? That doesn’t take away from this song though. I keep going back to this one from this album.
      I’m not sure if intellectual is the right word.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Those are a better description….I just couldn’t find the words. Personal is it…maybe a tad bit more subtle. You are hit over the head with it in this song…

        Liked by 1 person

      2. She is different from some of her female peers. She has everything…good songwriting skills, plays guitar, great voice…she is the whole package. I saw her open for the Stones and she played a song with them and fit in perfectly.


      3. It was one of the stones songs they played…I think it was You Can’t Always Get What You Want.


      4. I found one where she was just performing by herself for the a covid… lol I’ve really confused things.
        Here is the one I watched…I’ll check out your link.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. I will! More rock stars live here now.
        I have run into Peter Frampton at the airport before…He is a very short guy…he was with a tall redheaded beautiful lady.


  3. “Downbound Train” and “No Surrender” are among my favorite tunes from the “Born in the USA” album, along with “Bobby Jean.” There’s really no bad song on this album, so I’m speaking relatively here.


  4. Bruce sings real life. There is no better way to say it. He is “everyman.” At least every man who works for a living — or will if he can find a job paying a living wage!!!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I haven’t tried to play this one. I’m Going Down I have…I’ll give this one a try. Yea he is the whole package. That delay on his voice is almost Sun Records like.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. That deKe guy told me to get over here. I usually don’t listen to people when they tell me what to do but I broke with the usual. Yeah this is a a good one. I agree with you on the cuts you noted. I also like ‘Going Down’, great rocker (what a great sax break) and that’s what it’s all about. Good piece badfinger. Man what a bunch of stuff you have here. I guess I’ll have to do some carousing on your takes. Later. CB

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I appreciate you looking. Yea I like “Going Down” also…The songs I listen to are the album tracks more than the hits on this album…I like it all though.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I remember picking up the big extended plays off this record. I have a few. I dont think this was one of them. I was glad that Springsteen hit the big time and made some bucks while continuing to make good music.

        Liked by 1 person

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