So… this is not a studio album obviously, which means some purists may be confused by my pulling it out. There is also the 4-CD box set and the 18 cut, single disc version. Both are worth owning, and yes, I own both.
It’s like I said to Max Weinberg when I met him a few weeks back… “My friend Russ and I were discussing it, and we think we put your kids through college.” More likely Bruce’s kids… if they even went or are going to college, but you get the idea. I have spent a lot of money on Bruce records and shows… and it has been worth every penny! I’m hoping Mighty Max got some of that… I’m sure he did… and I just hope they are both willing to return the favor when J’s college tuition becomes due… Just sayin’…
Bruce Springsteen – Tracks
There is a joy in discovering, searching for, collecting and acquiring great Bruce Bootlegs… I am still looking for War and Roses – The Born to Run Outtakes!!! Anyone? Anyone?
This collection, while not nearly complete, is like a great bootleg.
Tracks was released in 1998 and has an amazing 66 songs. It consists mostly of “never-before-released songs recorded during the sessions for his many albums”… “and unavailable single B-sides, as well as demos and alternate versions of already-released material.”
Any Springsteen fan knows how many tracks he actually writes, versus what makes up an album, so there are literally thousands of songs out there, that most of us have never heard. Max was talking about tapes he owns with hundreds of songs on them. I so wanted to offer to help him digitize them!
I have said this before, but it bears repeating… Bruce’s cast offs and seconds are better than almost any first effort, extra virgin, cold pressed music out there. The man is prolific and astounding in his output.
AllMusic feels like “it misses a number of key outtakes, plus his original version of “Because the Night,” the sole hit for Patti Smith.” And compared to Dylan they say… “That’s why Tracks is for the dedicated fan, where The Bootleg Series or The Basement Tapes were flat-out essential for rock fans.”
I guess I agree with this, but I still love the set. “Bishop Danced” and “Thundercrack” are legendary… All Music gives it up for those… but live versions on other bootlegs are an absolute must!!! Neither of those make the 18 tracks… same with “Roulette.”
My favorite tracks are:
“Hearts of Stone” – Although a bit heartbreaking hearing that beautiful, wailing sax… Oh, Clarence, I still miss you, Big Man!
“My Love Will Not Let You Down”, “Lion’s Den”, “Janey Don’t You Lose Heart”, “The Fever” (How I love that Hammond organ!!!) and of course “The Promise.”
If Bruce puts it out, I have to listen. I am drawn to his music, the hits and the misses… but it is a rare occasion when he puts out something that is not, at the least, interesting and worth delving into. That is part of the magic and the mystique and the man.