by Bruce SpringsteenBruce Springsteen


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For years, decades even, Bruce Springsteen was legendary for the amount of recordings he did not release. Every time he cut an album, he recorded a surplus of songs and left some out, not always on the basis of quality, but often because they simply didn't suit the mood of the record. It was inevitable that dedicated fans and collectors would bootleg these recordings, and for many years, he was one of the most popular bootlegged artists, rivaling even Bob Dylan. Dylan released a box set of unreleased songs in 1991, paving the way for the long-overdue appearance of a similar Springsteen set, Tracks, in 1998. Spanning four discs, it isn't entirely devoted to unreleased material -- a few B-sides pop up here and there -- nor is it truly definitive, since it misses a number of key outtakes, plus his original version of "Because the Night," the sole hit for Patti Smith. Instead, the compilation is an unassuming sampling of what's in the vaults, from his early acoustic demos to polished outtakes from Human Touch and Lucky Town. Along the way, there are a number of great songs -- "Bishop Danced" is every bit as terrific as its legend, as are "Thundercrack," "Give the Girl a Kiss," "Hearts of Stone," "Roulette," and many others. Tracks merely offers fans an enjoyably sequenced selection of what was left behind. If the end result isn't as revelatory as some may have expected (even the acoustic "Born in the U.S.A.," powerful as it is, doesn't sound any different than you may have imagined it), it's because Springsteen is, at heart, a solid craftsman, not a blinding visionary like Dylan. That's why Tracks is for the dedicated fan, where The Bootleg Series and The Basement Tapes are flat-out essential for rock fans.

Product Details

Release Date: 11/10/1998
Label: Sony
UPC: 0074646947524
catalogNumber: 69475

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Bruce Springsteen   Primary Artist,Guitar,Harmonica,Keyboards,Vocals
Nils Lofgren   Vocals
Omar Hakim   Drums
David Sancious   Organ,Piano,Keyboards
Clarence Clemons   Percussion,Saxophone
Ian McLagan   Organ
Roy Bittan   Piano,Keyboards
Danny Federici   Organ,Accordion,Glockenspiel
Michael Fisher   Percussion
Bob Glaub   Bass
Vini Lopez   Drums
Jeff Porcaro   Drums
Shawn Pelton   Drums
Mark Pender   Trumpet
Marty Rifkin   Dobro,Pedal Steel Guitar
Garry Tallent   Bass
Soozie Tyrell   Violin
Steven Van Zandt   Guitar
Max Weinberg   Drums
Gary Mallaber   Drums
Mario Cruz   Tenor Saxophone
Frank Pagano   Percussion
Randy Jackson   Bass
Jerry Vivino   Tenor Saxophone
E Street Band   Group
Ed Manion   Baritone Saxophone
Mike Spengler   Trumpet

Technical Credits

John Hammond   Producer
Bruce Springsteen   Producer,Liner Notes
John Hammond   Producer
Mike Appel   Producer
Neil Dorfsman   Engineer
Jimmy Iovine   Engineer
Jon Landau   Producer
Chuck Plotkin   Producer
Toby Scott   Engineer
Steven Van Zandt   Producer
Jim Cretecos   Producer
Louis Lehav   Engineer
Sandra Choron   Art Direction

Customer Reviews

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Tracks 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
poughkeepsiejohn More than 1 year ago
When Bruce Springsteen recorded "The River" in 1980, he supposedly recorded as many as 150 songs for that album. Only 20 songs made the final cut. The rest ended up as B-sides or concert favorites. Yet, many of these songs are worthy of rememberance and "Tracks" contains a lot of these outtakes and B-sides, going all the way back to when Bruce was cutting demos for John Hammond in 1972 to the late 1990's before his resurgance and re-emergance with The E Street Band. Like a lot of boxed sets, this 4-CD starts out slow. The early songs Bruce does with The E Street Band have some hints of the greatness that was to follow, such as "Bishop Danced", a Van Morrisonesque tune that never made it for the debut album. A few tracks later, there's "Thundercrack", a terrific, full-fledged rocker that Bruce recorded (but never used) for "Born To Run". On the second CD, there's a treasure trove of outtakes from "The River" sessions, proving that Bruce was becoming a real workaholic by this point. Yet, there are many great songs here. Songs that ended up as B-sides ("Roulette"), others that become covers for other artists ("Hearts Of Stone") and a few that eventually became different songs for Bruce. For example, "Living On The Edge Of The World" had a few lines that would eventually end up on Bruce's stark acoustic masterpiece, "Nebraska". Speaking of which, there are a few songs here that Bruce had recorded with The E Street Band before deciding on releasing "Nebraska" and these songs---"This Hard Land", "Cynthia" and "My Love Will Not Let You Down"---hint at what a good album it might have been. Of course, that album would be "Born In The USA" and there's a fantastic acoustic version of that song, stripped of its anthemic roar yet full of scarifying power. There are also many outtakes from those sessions, some of which inexplicably should have been included on that album such as the wonderful doo-wop melody of "Man At The Top". And although there aren't too many outtakes from equally marvelous "Tunnel Of Love" LP, those songs---"The Wish" (which Bruce wrote for his mother) and "The Honeymooners"---are worth a listen. Most of the songs off the fourth CD contains outtakes from "Human Touch" and "Lucky Town", the former which is probably Bruce's weakest album. Still, there are a few good songs here as well, particularly "Gave It A Name", "Part Man, Part Monkey" and "Brothers Under The Bridge". It should be mentioned that there is also an "18 Tracks" album available which features "The Fever", an excellent song that Bruce had written back in 1973 and was later covered by Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes. Considering the fact that this boxed set is more than a decade old and considering Bruce's amazing output over the last few years, which ranks among his finest work, perhaps an updated version of "Tracks" is overdue. But you can't quibble with this collection of songs, even if it doesn't have Bruce's shortest song ever, "Held Up Without A Gun".
Guest More than 1 year ago
Simply the best. Check out any of the 500 or so bootlegs, and it should be enough said, but this is a gem, every song! MB
Guest More than 1 year ago
When Tracks first came out, it was a dream come true. My favorite musician opening the vaults, releasing over 50 previously unreleased gems. It is a fact that Bruce was a perfectionist in the studio and many of these songs are album worthy, making this Box Set a good buy. It's flaw is that many of the songs share lines from already released music, and as whole the box set doesn't flow very well. On top of that, as a long time Bruce fan I know that many of Bruce's best unreleased material is still missing, being left off of the 4 disc set for some songs that are meteocre. When I criticize, it is only because Tracks did not live up to the potential to be a landmark box set. Overall it has a ton of quality music that any fan should enjoy.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago