In 1980, Bruce Springsteen released a lauded double album called The River. While it contained a couple of my favorite Boss songs (“Out in the Street”, “I’m a Rocker”), the album as a whole never knocked me.
With the release of a new 4-disc boxset (“The Ties That Bind: The River Collection“) we are afforded the many, many outtakes from The River sessions, songs that have been heretofore mostly unreleased, except in the form of bootlegs and, for some of the songs, first released on Springsteen’s great 4-disc, 1998 release Tracks, which featured 60+ previously unreleased tracks.
They are astonishingly good songs and showcase how incredibly prolific Springsteen was at this period in his life. With the addition of these outtakes, the thematic unity of Springsteen’s songs during The River period emerges.