35 years after the release of the beloved double album The River, Bruce released The Ties that Bind: The River Collection on December 4th.
It contains four CDs, 3 DVDs, 52 songs (11 of which are previously unreleased), and is a treasure trove for all fans of ‘The Boss,’ old and new. If you haven’t gotten your hands on a copy already, I implore you to do so.
One of these CDs is The Ties that Bind, a 1979 album which was originally meant to be released after Darkness, but was eventually replaced with the acclaimed double album The River (1980).
The first two CDs are comprised of The River. Disc 3 is The Ties that Bind, and the final disc – The River: Outtakes – is filled with tracks recorded during the River sessions, some of which remained unheard until now. This was Bruce at his peak.
If nothing else, the collection is a testament to Bruce’s song-writing prolificacy. It is hard to comprehend that songs of this quality have been sitting on a shelf gathering dust for some 35 years. Songs like ‘Roulette’ or ‘Stray Bullet’ could be the pinnacle of many artists’ careers, yet both failed to make the final cut for The River.
The 22 rejected tracks include some gems such as ‘Meet Me In the City,’ ‘Party Lights’ and ‘Little White Lies,’ both of which are found on the 4th disc. ‘Paradise by the C’ heavily features the late great Clarence Clemons, which will bring a smile to most Springsteen fans.
As always, the sheer ambition, quality and variety of the songs is breath-taking.
In a recent interview with K-She’95, Steve van Zandt voiced his love of the record;
“We put out a double album, but there was that whole outtake album, which is the best E Street Band album, ever — on Disc Two of Tracks — and now, they found another, whatever it is, eight or 10…and wait ’til you hear the quality of these things. You cannot believe the quality!”
The collection could be considered as somewhat of a successor to 2010’s release The Promise, which contained previously unreleased material from the ‘Darkness’ era, and served as a companion piece to Darkness on the Edge of Town.
Wonderful music aside, there is also 3 DVDs containing 4 hours of never-before-seen video to enjoy. Two of these DVDs contain from “Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band: The River Tour, Tempe 1980,” and show footage of 24 songs (and much more), from the iconic concert. These DVDs also show rare footage of the River Tour rehearsals, filmed in Lititz, PA in 1980.
An insightful hour long documentary titled The Ties that Bind completes the package, and delves into the themes and genesis of the original The River album.
Bruce gives an insight into the ‘adult concerns’ which he was obsessed with capturing when he was making the album.
Keep an eye out for the wonderful footage of Bruce addressing the wedding guests at Max Weinberg’s wedding in 1981.
The icing on the cake book is the book of 200 rare or previously unseen photos, which features an essay by Mikal Gilmore.
At times, it feels like opening a precious time capsule, or being transported back to 1980. The collection is sure to be a collector’s item for fans young and old, and would make a great gift for any music lovers.