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The Ties That Bind: The River Collection Box set, Import

4.5 out of 5 stars 193 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Box set, Import, December 4, 2015
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Editorial Reviews

'The Ties That Bind: The River Collection' is a comprehensive look at Bruce Springsteen's 'The River' era, one of the most pivotal periods of time in his career. The set contains 52 tracks on 4 CDs with a wealth of unreleased material, and 4 hours of never-before-seen video on 3 DVDs. It is comprised of the original 'The River' double album as released in 1980; the first official release of 'The River: Single Album;' a CD of 1979/80 studio outtakes; a two-DVD film of never-released, newly edited multi-camera footage from Springsteen's famed 1980 show in Tempe, AZ, long rumored but never-before-seen; rare tour rehearsal footage; a brand new documentary "The Ties That Bind" about 'The River;' and a coffee table book of 200 rare or previously unseen photos and memorabilia with a new essay by Mikal Gilmore.

'The River,' was originally released on October 17, 1980 as a double album and reached #1 on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart. 'The River: Single Album' is the 10-track album that Springsteen recorded in 1979 as a follow up to 1978's 'Darkness On The Edge Of Town' but never released. The fourth CD on the box set is 'The River: Outtakes,' which spans the entire 'The River' sessions in 1979 and 1980. Eleven songs are rarities that have never been released before, and for the most part are completely unheard and unknown even to fans, who have long considered Springsteen's outtakes to be treasured secrets.

"The Ties That Bind," on one DVD, is a brand new 60-minute documentary that features an intimate interview with Springsteen as he reflects on the tumultuous, extended period writing and recording 'The River.' The film transitions between Springsteen telling the stories behind the music and illustrating them with solo acoustic guitar performances -- interspersed with period concert footage and rare photos of Bruce and the band in and out of the studio. The final video component is "Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band: The River Tour, Tempe 1980," a new film produced from footage professionally filmed in 1980 using four cameras and recorded in multitrack audio. The film features 24 songs 2 hours, 40 minutes on 2 DVDs from Springsteen s November 5, 1980 concert at Arizona State University in Tempe, AZ. Widely regarded as one of Springsteen s finest performances, this intense show features early live versions of over half of 'The River' songs. Also included is 20 minutes of footage from the late September, 1980 River Tour rehearsals held in Lititz, PA, showing Springsteen and The E Street Band working through live arrangements of what was then unreleased material from the upcoming album.

'The Ties That Bind: The River Collection is packaged in a 10" x 12" box with a hardcover 148-page coffee table book containing 200 studio and live photographs most of which have never been seen before plus pages from Springsteen's notebooks, single covers, images and outtakes from the original album package, and other memorabilia documenting the album. Liner notes include a new essay from journalist Mikal Gilmore, the original Rolling Stone album review from 1980, and Springsteen's updated comments about the album from the 1998 "Songs" book.

Blu-Ray Content:

Blu-ray Disc 1
The Ties That Bind (Documentary)

Blu-ray Disc 2
The River Tour, Tempe 1980
Concert Part 1
The River Tour, Tempe 1980
Concert Part 2

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. The Ties That Bind
  2. Sherry Darling
  3. Jackson Cage
  4. Two Hearts
  5. Independence Day
  6. Hungry Heart
  7. Out In the Street
  8. Crush on You
  9. You Can Look (But You Better Not Touch)
  10. I Wanna Marry You
  11. The River

Disc: 2

  1. Point Blank
  2. Cadillac Ranch
  3. I'm a Rocker
  4. Fade Away
  5. Stolen Car
  6. Ramrod
  7. The Price You Pay
  8. Drive All Night
  9. Wreck on the Highway

Disc: 3

  1. The Ties That Bind
  2. Cindy
  3. Hungry Heart
  4. Stolen Car
  5. Be True
  6. The River
  7. You Can Look (But You Better Not Touch)
  8. The Price You Pay
  9. I Wanna Marry You
  10. Loose End

Disc: 4

  1. Meet Me In The City
  2. The Man Who Got Away
  3. Little White Lies
  4. The Time That Never Was
  5. Night Fire
  6. Whitetown
  7. Chain Lightning
  8. Party Lights
  9. Paradise By The "C"
  10. Stray Bullet
  11. Mr. Outside
  12. Roulette
  13. Restless Nights
  14. Where The Bands Are
  15. Dollhouse
  16. Living On The Edge Of The World
  17. Take 'Em as They Come
  18. Ricky Wants A Man Of Her Own
  19. I Wanna Be With You
  20. Mary Lou
  21. Held Up Without a Gun
  22. From Small Things (Big Things One Day Come)

Disc: 5

  1. Creative Life
  2. Lost Boys
  3. The River
  4. Noisy Records
  5. Searching for Something
  6. The River Tour
  7. Songs of Breadth and Depth
  8. Personal Conversation
  9. Credits
  10. Creative Life
  11. Lost Boys
  12. The River
  13. Noisy Records
  14. Searching for Something
  15. The River Tour
  16. Songs of Breadth and Depth
  17. Personal Conversation
  18. Credits
  19. Creative Life
  20. Lost Boys
  21. The River
  22. Noisy Records
  23. Searching for Something
  24. The River Tour
  25. Songs of Breadth and Depth
  26. Personal Conversation
  27. Credits

Disc: 6

  1. Born to Run
  2. Prove It All Night
  3. Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out
  4. Jackson Cage
  5. Two Hearts
  6. The Promised Land
  7. Out In the Street
  8. The River
  9. Badlands
  10. Thunder Road
  11. No Money Down
  12. Cadillac Ranch
  13. Hungry Heart
  14. Fire
  15. Sherry Darling
  16. I Wanna Marry You
  17. Crush on You
  18. Ramrod
  19. You Can Look (But You Better Not Touch)
  20. Drive All Night
  21. Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)
  22. I'm a Rocker
  23. Jungleland
  24. Detroit Medley
  25. Credits
  26. Ramrod
  27. Cadillac Ranch
  28. Fire
  29. Crush on You
  30. Sherry Darling
  31. Born to Run
  32. Prove It All Night
  33. Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out
  34. Jackson Cage
  35. Two Hearts
  36. The Promised Land
  37. Out In the Street
  38. The River
  39. Badlands
  40. Thunder Road
  41. No Money Down
  42. Cadillac Ranch
  43. Hungry Heart
  44. Fire
  45. Sherry Darling
  46. I Wanna Marry You
  47. Crush on You
  48. Ramrod
  49. You Can Look (But You Better Not Touch)
  50. Drive All Night
  51. Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)
  52. I'm a Rocker
  53. Jungleland
  54. Detroit Medley
  55. Credits
  56. Ramrod
  57. Cadillac Ranch
  58. Fire
  59. Crush on You
  60. Sherry Darling
  61. Born to Run
  62. Prove It All Night
  63. Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out
  64. Jackson Cage
  65. Two Hearts
  66. The Promised Land
  67. Out In the Street
  68. The River
  69. Badlands
  70. Thunder Road
  71. No Money Down
  72. Cadillac Ranch
  73. Hungry Heart
  74. Fire
  75. Sherry Darling
  76. I Wanna Marry You
  77. Crush on You
  78. Ramrod
  79. You Can Look (But You Better Not Touch)
  80. Drive All Night
  81. Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)
  82. I'm a Rocker
  83. Jungleland
  84. Detroit Medley
  85. Credits
  86. Ramrod
  87. Cadillac Ranch
  88. Fire
  89. Crush on You
  90. Sherry Darling

Product Details

  • Audio CD (December 4, 2015)
  • Original Release Date: December 4, 2015
  • Number of Discs: 6
  • Format: Box set, Import
  • Note on Boxed Sets: During shipping, discs in boxed sets occasionally become dislodged without damage. Please examine and play these discs. If you are not completely satisfied, we'll refund or replace your purchase.
  • Label: Columbia
  • Run Time: 1039 minutes
  • ASIN: B016EAZ6GC
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (193 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,967 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
It's a little expensive but I knew what I was getting so I can't complain too much. Here's what you get. You decide if it's worth $100 or not.

1. The River on 2 CD. Now I'm betting most people who buy these special Springsteen packages are fans enough they already have The River. I have it on album, cassettes, CD, and practically every format possible. So getting another copy of the CD is fine. I'll toss it into the glove compartment of my truck for road trips. I would rather have saved the $20 though.
2. A hardcover photography book and some facsimile tickets and notebooks. These are kind of cool. Then again, I'm not 17 years old anymore (and I bet you aren't either if you're reading this), so having a copy of Bruce's notebook from 1978 doesn't mean that much to me as it might have 30 years ago. Still, it's kind of cool and lets you know these songs didn't just spring from the earth finished. The man is a hard worker. I'll look at these for a while. Put them on my shelf. And probably never look at them again like all the other special Springsteen packages I've bought.
3. The River - Outtakes: A collection of outtakes from The River. Some you've heard. Some you haven't. I love a couple songs on here I'd never heard or forgotten that I'd heard from old bootlegs. Good stuff here. Some interesting overdubs that I'd never heard before.
4. The Ties That Bind documentary. I saw this on HBO. I liked it.
5. Tempe Arizona 1980 concert on DVD. Since I was just a few years too young to see Bruce in 1980 (my first show was 1984), this was so cool to watch. I'll watch this repeatedly like I watch the other concert films he's put out. These never get old.
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This is a handsome artifact from a time that never was, as it were -- a sort of expanded/alternate history that will appeal mightily to anyone who liked even parts of the original release of The River or who was fortunate enough to see the band tour in support of it. More than just archaeology, this collection is an immersive look back at where Bruce was, musically, in 1980. Nostalgia, yes, but with added context and the added depth of some tracks that will be new to long-time fans. As such, it's not for everyone ... even with the high-quality packaging/presentation, it's not likely to make new fans, but if it did, that would be a nice surprise.

It's early yet, but highlights for me include the "new" tracks "Stray Bullet," "The Time That Never Was," "Chain Lightning" and (from the original single-album version of The River) the rootsier version of "You Can Look (But You Better Not Touch)." It's also fun to hear the "studio" version of "Paradise by the C," which had been played on the 1978 "Darkness" tour.

I owned the original release of The River on a (miserable) cassette and then later in somewhat muddy-sounding CD form. I've looked forward to this treatment of the music from that era for a long time, and my first day with it (music only, at this point ... I'll get to the video later) has been a very good one. This is not an inexpensive set, but it's a high-value one -- and to me, that's just for the music alone. When the video content is factored in, this collection claims a five-star rating ... not so much for perfection, but for capturing and presenting some aspects of what made Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band such a cult favorite (relative to later fame) before Born in the U.S.A.
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Format: Audio CD
I grew up in central New Jersey just a few miles away from Bruce. He is a couple of years older then me. My friends and I made a point of it to go wherever he was playing at the Jersey shore even years before his first record was released in 1973. To borrow one of his song titles, he was a local hero even back then. He started as a bar band playing mostly covers and evolved magnificently over the years. The reason for his widespread appeal and tremendous fan devotion is that his tremendous insight as a poet and lyricist applies to almost everyone everywhere.

This is Bruce's magic. His insights and perceptions are basically universal. Whatever he is singing about can probably be transposed to some event or memory of your life. Bruce is speaking to you! All the time. A few don't get it, but that is their loss. If you take the time and make the effort to get to know his music, you will be forever changed.

This is why Bruce has stayed on top for 40 years. Few have ever possessed his marvelous combination of gifts. His exceptional poetic/lyrical skill, his ability to conceptualize and commit to paper these magnificent musical compositions he has created, his impeccable musicianship, his incredible showmanship, and particularly evolved over the decades, his vocalization skills. Bruce had the talent. So have many others. He had the work ethic. And he had the vision. This is what has set him apart. Put him at the very top of the pile. Hard work, tremendous talent, and always looking ahead. He has never been satisfied to rest on his considerable laurels. He is consistently driven to do even better. He has won Grammys, an Oscar, humanitarian awards, Kennedy Center Honors, and most every accolade out there. He appeals to not just a few, but to most. And intensely!
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