# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Bruce Springsteen - The Promise

  by Mark Rowland

published: 16 / 12 / 2010

Bruce Springsteen - The Promise
Label: Columbia
Format: CD


Excellent and frequently surprising collection of previously unreleased material from Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, recorded in 1978 at the time of his classic 'Darkness on the Edge of Town' album

‘Darkness On the Edge of Town’ is arguably The Boss’ greatest record, seemingly angrier than its predecessor ‘Born To Run’, with so many cracking songs, from stomping opener ‘Badlands’ to the bluesy yell of ‘Adam Raised a Cain’, the rising crescendo of ‘Candy’s Room’, the piano ballad ‘Racing in the Street’, and ‘Because the Night’ the song co-written and originally released by Patti Smith, ‘The Promised Land’ – a personal favourite – and the mournful ‘Streets of Fire’. It’s a great album from beginning to end, practically flawless, and a blueprint for the Replacements’ later years, Ryan Adams’ ‘Gold’ and for bands like the Hold Steady and the Gaslight Anthem. With that in mind, it’s no surprise that ‘The Promise’ has got so many Springsteen fans excited. A double-disc album compiled from the many, many rejected songs from the ‘Darkness…’ sessions, ‘The Promise’ is a new (old) album in itself, the only recognisable song being an earlier, full-band version of ‘Racing in the Street’ – the rest are all previously unheard. The first of these unheard tracks, ‘Gotta Get That Feeling’, is fairly understated for the Boss, but it’s very catchy, and features a great horn part. ‘Outside Looking In’ is almost Springsteen’s version of jangly early 60s pop, though it still has plenty of the bombast you expect from the E Street Band. One thing is for sure. If these songs had been used for the record, ‘Darkness on the Edge of Town’ would have been a very different album. It would have been sweeter, softer, more optimistic and chock full of love songs. Springsteen made a conscious decision to put his “toughest songs” on ‘Darkness…’ in part to address the injustice that he saw afflicting America’s poor, in part because he’d been listening to punk, and in part as an effort to prove himself as more than “a one-hit wonder”. I think most people would agree that he made the right decision, but there are some lovely songs that he left off that evoke the classic rock ‘n’ roll songwriting of the 50s and 60s. ‘The Brokenhearted’, for example, sounds like a Roy Orbison ballad performed with the fire of Otis Redding. ‘Rendezvous’, which immediately follows it, sounds like a classic Boss song, but there’s a little of Elvis in Springsteen’s delivery. ‘Save My Love’ would quite happily slot onto ‘Born to Run’, while ‘Ain’t Good Enough for You’ has a great Motown swing to it. ‘Come On (Let’s Go Tonight)’ is a particularly lovely ballad, with the kind of subtlety that great love songs have. It’s a direct contrast with the pleading soul stomp of ‘Talk to me’. ‘The Promise’ is the lighter flip side of ‘Darkness…’ complementary in many ways, but focusing on better times. It makes you wonder how many more brilliant songs have been lost for the sake of his other great albums.

Track Listing:-
1 Racing In The Street ('78)
2 Gotta Get That Feeling
3 Outside Looking In
4 Someday (We'll Be Together)
5 One Way Street
6 Because The Night
7 Wrong Side Of The Street
8 The Brokenhearted
9 Rendezvous
10 Candy's Boy
11 Save My Love
12 Ain't Good Enough For You
13 Fire
14 Spanish Eyes
15 It's A Shame
16 Come On (Let's Go Tonight)
17 Talk To Me
18 The Little Things (My Baby Does)
19 Breakaway
20 The Promise
21 City Of Night

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