The first time I heard The Promise (the song) was when “18 tracks” was released in april 1999. I had read about it and had very high expectations, I was not disappointed. The 1999 release is great and it is a new recording of a song written much earlier. Bruce said he couldn’t find a version he liked enough to release on “Tracks” and re-recorded it for “18 Tracks”. This new recording had just Bruce Springsteen and his piano, and he does a toned down but intense version. The sombre performance enhances the stark qualities of the song.
“This boy has a lot more of the Dylan spirit than John Prine. His songs are filled with the absurdist energy and heart on sleeve pretension that made Dylan a genius instead of a talent.”
– Robert Christgau, Creem magazine
Greetings from Asbury Park NJ is the first studio album by Bruce Springsteen, released in 1973. It only sold about 25,000 copies in the first year of its release, but had significant critical impact. It was ranked at #379 by Rolling Stone on its list of 500 greatest albums of all time. The album also hit the number sixty stop on the Billboard 200 albums listing.
The re-release that is part of the box-set (released autumn 2014) sounds amazing!
Bruce played 3 concerts @ Nassau Coliseum at the end of 1980, and the New-year eve concert is the most famous. The concert bootleg “Nassau Night” (Crystal Cat) from the 12-31-1980 concert is one of the most famous (& best) Springsteen boots. BUT the concert he played on the 29th is also fantastic… and he played a heavenly version of “Incident on 57th Street” (only River Tour version – and next live version didn’t come until September 25th 1999 in Philadelphia, PA)
Incident on 57th Street – 1980-12-29:
“This is, uh…this is a song we haven’t done in a real long time…(?) …this is, uh, I hope I remember all the words, alright, I might not, I just learned them (?)…”
~Bruce intro for “Incident..”
I was born right here on Randolph Street in Freehold Here right behind that big red maple in Freehold Well I went to school right here Got laid and had my first beer In Freehold
Today we have found a great “story-song” from Bruce Springsteen that has never been officially released.
This is a sweet and funny song that appeared for the first time live on 8 Nov 1996 in Freehold, NJ. Freehold/ In Freehold is never officially released and I think it has only been played live (not recorded in studio). It is a song in the same vein as Growing Up, but set at an earlier age and in a less serious tone.
The debut of the song was at The Ghost Of Tom Joad Solo Acoustic Tour (Freehold 8 Nov) and it has been played around 20 times after that. It is speculated that the song was written specifically for this event. It was a sort of homecoming show in the sense that he grew up in Freehold, but hadn’t played there since 1967. Bruce Springsteen left Freehold in 1968.
Today we present one of the best of the still unreleased tracks from the Nebraska sessions, The Losin’ Kind. The song started out as The Answer an early home demo with slightly different lyrics.
The melody is reminiscent of Highway Patrolman (Nebraska) and the story is about the same as in the song Highway 29 (The Ghost of Tom Joad), and I’m guessing that these similarities will keep the song in Springsteen’s vault.
As I said the song started out as The Answer before it became The Losin’ Kind and both versions are in circulation:
The Answer (The Losin’ kind acoustic demo) was recorded in fall 1981 (sometime between September and December), at Thrill Hill Recording in Colts Neck.
The Losin’ Kind (the “finished” version) were probably taped on 03 Jan 1982 at Thrill Hill Recording. There are records of a third version, but I’ve not heard it and I don’t think it floats around the web.
Let us hear the song.
The Losin’ Kind:
Incredibly good ! …and will hopefully be included on Tracks part 2 (if that is ever released…)
The Nebraska sessions were never conceived to result in a commercially released album. Bruce’s intention was to create a batch of multi-channel, professional sounding, finished solo demos to demonstrate to The E Street Band at sessions for the follow-up to The River album due to start in New York City in February 1982. By creating professional demos Springsteen felt the band sessions would progress faster than they had for his previous three albums.
To achieve his goal in December 1981 Springsteen asked his guitar technician, Mike Batlan, to set up a no frills “porta-studio” in a spare room of Bruce’s Colts Neck, NJ home. Some modification work was done to the room to make it more receptive to achieving a decent sound. Batlan purchased a Teac Tascam (Series 144) 4-track cassette recorder, 2 x Shure SM57 mics and 2 x mic stands. The sound was mixed through an old Gibson Echoplex and an old Panasonic boom box acted as the mix-down deck.
Springsteen recorded during the first few days of January, with the bulk of the songs recorded in one all day/night session on January 3, 1982. There were 15 songs recorded and some of them were recorded 2 or 3 times in slightly different arrangements. However two or three months later, with a few of these 15 songs by-then earmarked for coverage by the E Street Band, Springsteen recorded 2 additional songs (“My Father’s House” and “The Big Payback”) at home on the same equipment – thus making a total of 17 different songs…