What would it be like if we were able to get new music from bands like The Beatles, The Who, The Rolling Stones or any number of classic rock artists from early in their careers. Not outtakes. Not studio demos. Whole songs or whole albums of new, never before heard material. Sounds impossible. But with THE PROMISE, Bruce Springsteen gives us just that. These 21 songs were recorded in preparation for his follow up to Born to Run. Because of legal battles over ownership of his own music with his manager, Mike Appel, Springsteen couldn't record that new album. That didn't stop him from writing and recording songs in a New Jersey farmhouse. These 21 songs, plus 10 more, were culled into the epic Darkness on the Edge of Town album. So, Springsteen had 31 (probably more) songs to pick from. The discarded songs (or as Steve Van Zant has called them “lost arguments”) make up THE PROMISE. Many are '60's Motown or Mitch Ryder in feel. Count “Someday (We'll Be Together)”, “The Brokenhearted”, “Ain't Good Enough For You”, “It's A Shame” and “Talk to Me” among those. There are songs with melodies or lyrics you'll recognize that were obviously jumping off points for those that appeared on Darkness. Count “Come On (Let's Go Tonight)”, “Racing In The Streets” and “Candy's Boy” in that category. Then there are the songs you've heard a million times in concert, but never in the studio. That list includes “Fire”, “Because the Night” and “Rendezvous”(but that falls somewhere in between this category and the “early versions” one). Then there is the category of new and instantly classic. “Save My Love” is an unbelievable melody with lyrics about love and distance. It could have easily been on Born To Run. “The Way” is a haunting song about obsessive love (Bruce says it belongs in a David Lynch movie. No debating that). You won't see it in the track list, but trust me, it's there. Then there is the title track. “The Promise” could very well have been included on Darkness, with it's theme of lost and wasted dreams. It is among Springsteen's best. Not just of recent years, it's among his best EVER! I could go on and on about this 2 disc collection, I haven't even mentioned seven songs that are simply awesome. Finding a weak sister in among these songs is impossible. For me, this bridges the gap from Born to Run to Darkness. It just fills me with joy to hear these songs. It takes me back to New Jersey in the '70's, when I was first discovering Bruce. I've been transported back in time and what a wonderful trip it is. — Alan Yudman

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