'The Boss' fulfils his promise as the long awaited 'Darkness' sessions see the light of day.
Bruce Springsteen is still 'The Boss' of rock and roll. His last three albums 'Working On A Dream', 'Magic' and 'The Rising' have lifted him further in legendary status. Even in his 60's Bruce is still as relevant as he was in the 70's, back when he was making his mark along with Dylan as one of the best to ever do it.
Over three decades ago Springsteen released one of his most defining, groundbreaking and classic works from his 30 plus catalogue. 'Darkness On The Edge Of Town' was a timeless rock and roll record for the ages, from the album title single, to the cover that depicted the young Bruce, sporting a leather jackets and slick hair in front of a set of blinds. Now in the second decade of the new millennium Bruce Springsteen once again see's a darkness as he releases 'The Promise'. A collection of B-sides from the 'Darkness On The Edge Of Town' sessions that span a double disc set.
These B-sides are more than that and more than promising. They are definitive, timeless classics. Just like any Bruce record of years gone by. Most album anniversary re-releases normally come with a bonus disc of a few choice tracks, this piece on the other hand is a whole new album. As soon as you hear the first bit of piano, big man sax and boss man vocals it feels like 1978 again, even if your an 80's baby.
The first disc starts with a brilliant 1978 version of 'Racing In The Street', while the second disc comes to a close with a whole different take of 'The Promise', which works just as well as the classic version on the complimation '18 Tracks,' just in different ways. With the classic Pointers Sisters, boss penned, favourite 'Fire', the single 'Save My Love' and the long awaited studio release of the Patti Smith Group classic 'Because The Night' (that Bruce also wrote and gave up) this album definitely feels familiar amongst Bruuuuce fans. The other, 'new' tracks however are what holds this piece together. Fans and followers alike now have a cohesive, classic catalogue from the crates of The E Street Band. Whereas new listeners after hearing these lost sessions will find out what rock and roll is all about.
As per usual there is plenty of uplifting, heartland rock music. The themes of being in love with women, cars and the accompaniment of the open road leave a feeling that 'The Boss' has been reborn to run. From gems like 'Gotta Get That Feeling' to 'One Way Street'. Even the more sadder songs have an uplifting quality to them which is a Bruce hallmark. 'Wrong Side Of The Street' 'It's A Shame' and 'Brokenhearted' are three gems that have that sense of loss and spirit. Bruce has always been that writer that makes you feel like your sitting in a New Jersey bar with him and listening to his stories. If you relate to them, you feel even closer and with his more solemn records Springsteen is telling his audience 'I'm with you'.
Although 'Darkness On The Edge Of Town' is a concise, flawless piece (That's what happens when you 'Prove It All Night' and 'Adam Raised A Cain' ) there are songs on here that could of easily made the album, which makes this collection a worthy addition to his discography. 'Someday (We'll Be Together)' is a brilliant love song of it's era that still holds relevance today. It could be a hit for anyone and along with 'Because The Night' it could of made 'Darkness' the bosses most brightest album. Just like the Patti Smith hit, now these unreleased takes have taken to the shelves, the boss owns this moment.
Even when Bruce pushes the envelope he delivers. From 'Spanish Eyes' to 'Candy's Boy' and the lovely, light 'Rendezvous' to the heavier 'Gotta Get A Feeling'. These songs are were a sign of things to come. They may have been left on the cutting room floor but still they paved the way for this versatile legend to cut even more diverse discs in the future, like this one.
Every piano, sax, guitar or vocal solo is so epic and familiar feeling, even years after they went from being forgotten to sought after. Not only does Bruce have timeless LP's he also has classic B-sides as this disc delivers on 'The Promise' that these sessions of legend for told. The man doesn't have a bad record, even when his extensive songbook flicks to the outtakes. Even though Bruce Springsteen is still in his prime continuing to define age this is a whole 'new' album that is so fresh and relevant-even today-that you would think that the boss managed to build a time machine or hop in the Delorian. Either way, 1978 or 2010, this guitar player of the youth has no signs of fading off the stage. We've moved from 'The Edge Of Town' to the promised land and it's even better than we thought it would be. TIM DAVID HARVEY.