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"Darkness was my 'samurai' record," Springsteen writes, "stripped to the frame and ready to rumble. But the music that got left behind was substantial." For the first time, fans will have access to two discs containing a total of 21 previously-unreleased songs from the Darkness recording sessions, songs that, as Springsteen writes, "perhaps could have/should have been released after Born To Run and before the collection of songs that Darkness on the Edge of Town became."
Highlights include the extraordinary rock version of "Racing in the Street," the never-before-released original recordings of "Because the Night," "Fire," and "Rendezvous," the supreme pop opus "Someday (We'll Be Together)," the hilarious "Ain't Good Enough for You," the superb soul-based vocal performance on "The Broken Hearted," the utterly haunting "Breakaway," and the now finally released, fully orchestrated masterpiece and title song, "The Promise." All 21 songs have been mixed by Springsteen's long-time collaborator, Bob Clearmountain. According to long-time manager/producer Jon Landau, "There isn't a weak card in this deck. 'The Promise' is simply a great listening experience."
Lyrics to all of the songs, a new essay from Bruce Springsteen and never-before-seen photographs from the Darkness sessions are also included.
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The Promise captures more of the passion, angst, and creative boil during that particular era of Springsteen's career than any preparatory media could have fully described. It's not that listening to The Promise really takes me back to 1978; instead, it reintroduces me to that year, that time...explains why my life was so deeply changed and marked by the music of Bruce Springsteen, and why the honesty and raw vulnerability of a Springsteen song, let alone a 4-hour Springsteen concert, could truly be a life-changing, unforgettable experience.
If you've got a PhD in Springsteen-ology, you could probably find a number of deficiencies in The Promise, but if you're simply a grateful fan over the years, you won't be disappointed in this work. You'll be grateful, and you'll remember...
As others have mentioned Bruce was fighting for artistic control of his music at the time and by the time the law suit was over he was in a different place. Ultimately he probably was right to hold the Promise back as snotty record reviewers would probably contended that he was a one trick pony. The music on this two disc collection is much stronger than the material from this period that was released on tracks. There really isn't a weak track here. Some outstanding work reminiscent of the River which is my personal favorite. It really opens your eyes to what a unbelievable prolific and great song writer the man is. Love this record.