Monday, January 17, 2011

Springsteen's Promise

I bought a shirt uptown in Bloomindales and babe I tried to make the latest scene; Hitting cool just like Jimmy Iovine... (Bruce Springsteen - Ain't Good Enough For You)

Bruce Springsteen's classic album Darkness on the Edge of Town was released in 1978 and to my ears the album is a cohesive, flawlsess gem that flows seamlessly from side 1 through side 2 The songs are dark and bold, but also filled with honesty and hope. With that said I believe the right songlist was chosen for Darkness on the Edge of Town.

The new Darkness 30th anniversary box set was released back on November 16 and includes 3 cd's; the remix of Darkness and 2 cd's worth of unreleased songs recorded for the Darkness record (also released seperately as The Promise); 3 dvd's; including 2 live concerts and the making of Darkness. Needless to say this treasure trove of Bruce materials has been a blast digging through.

The Promise includes 22 songs and has taken a little bit to get the feel for and I must admit that on first listen I was bit disappointed because the songs didn't necessarily sound like Darkness songs. I thought the Darkness outtake's released on 1998's 4 cd set Tracks, sounded more like Darkness songs; Bring on the Night, The Iceman, Don't Look Back all have Darkness qualities about them. However, upon futher listens I have found The Promise to be a rewarding experience and have discovered the songs for what they are... outtakes from Bruce's most productive era. The Promise in an intriguing glimpse into the evolution of not only Darkness on the Edge of Town, but also Bruce & the E Street Band.

Some of the songs on The Promise, Bruce gave to other artists; Because the Night - Patti Smith; Fire - The Pointer Sisters; Rendezvous - Gary US Bonds; Talk To Me - Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes. These songs are reborn here. Bruce's urgent singing matched with E Street' s muscle make these versions must listens.

Some of the songs are in different in forms; Racing in the Street ('78), Candy's Boy, Come On (Let's Go Tonight) - a cross between Factory and Johnny Bye-Bye. These versions are not up to the originals, but a fascinating listen nonetheless.

Some of the other songs should have been released on another album, maybe after Darkness and before The River; Save My Love is a great song; Ain't Good Enough, a 50's style rave up, is a highlight; Wrong Side of the Street is classic Bruce; Gotta Get That Feeling, Outside Lookin' In, It's a Shame, Breakaway, The Promise are all fine songs.

I don't know how many more of these unreleased discs we will ever get out of Bruce, so I am going to appreciate The Promise now.



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