Too bad Bruce wasn't turned on to Slim Dunlap in time to cover him at Xcel Energy Center in November 2012. / Renee Jones Schneider, Star Tribune
While it would’ve been nice to know before that 28-song benefit tribute album came out, it’s still very heartening to learn that Bruce Springsteen is quite a fan of beloved Minneapolis rocker Bob “Slim” Dunlap.
The Boss raved about the homebound ex-Replacements guitarist in a lengthy interview with National Public Radio correspondent and veteran music scribe Ann Powers. That lines up with a prior USA Today feature, “What Is the Boss Listening To?,” which shows Springsteen’s personal iPod playlist includes Dunlap’s classic hometown tribute, “Hate This Town.”
Bob "Slim" Dunlap and friend, circa 1996. / Photo by Tony Nelson
While talking about some of his current favorites in music to Powers (Jason Isbell, Gaslight Anthem and Arcade Firecame up), Bruce referred back to Dunlap’s two solo albums, “The Old New Me” and “Times Like This,” which came out in 1993 and 1996, respectively. He seemed vaguely aware of the severe stroke that has kept Dunlap out of commission for almost two years now.
Here’s the transcript of what he said:
Springsteen: Slim Dunlap, Slim Dunlap is fantastic. He was a part of the Replacements and he made two fabulous rock records that were just really, deeply soulful and beautiful.
Powers: I think he had a stroke not long ago.
Springsteen: Yeah I don’t know what his health condition is at the moment but I know some folks were cutting some things of his. I hope I get a chance to cut one of his songs because he’s, it’s just, this stuff, check out the two Slim Dunlap records because they’re just so beautiful, they’re just beautiful rock ‘n’ roll records. I found them to be deeply touching and emotional.
No doubt, former ‘Mats manager Peter Jesperson and the rest of the New West Records staff will resume the “Songs for Slim” singles series should Bruce really cut one of Dunlap’s songs – or Bruce can cover him anyway he chooses. In the meantime, you can take his word for it and still buy those albums via Amazon and iTunes, or in most local indie record stores. The new and previously raved-about “Songs for Slim” tribute compilation is also widely available, with the likes of Jeff Tweedy, Lucinda Williams, Frank Black, Jakob Dylan, Steve Earle, Patterson Hood and Craig Finn covering songs from those records.
In other love-for-Slim news, another tribute series has started up locally called “Slim Town Singles,”which thus far features new original tunes written about Dunlap. The second track, “Sworn Member of the Slim Dunlap,” just posted this week by the Mad Ripple, aka local writer Jim Walsh(coincidentally an Ann Powers cohort). Here's a stream of that one. You can be sure we'll post Bruce's song as soon as it becomes available.