The Ties That Bind:The River Collection (2015)


Disc One 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 Two 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 Three 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 Ends Disc Four 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)

 

When the music industry started to die during the first decade of the twenty-first century, it became common for record companies to repackage some of their older, better selling material along with a “bonus disc” that featured demos and alternate versions of songs from the original album. There might even be an unreleased song or two. Sometimes the rereleased package may even include a DVD. Bruce did this a time or two as well.

That’s what this release essentially is – a repackaged version of his 1980 double disc The River. For whatever reason, though, this one gets an entirely new name. As the story goes, the name of this package was the original name of the album that came out in 1980.

Actually, there’s a bit more too it. The original package was actually designed to only be a single album – with some of the same songs, some of the same songs with an alternate recorded version, and some songs that, for whatever reason, never made the transition to the double The River album. None of this is really surprising to the fan. They know Springsteen always had tons of songs available any time a new album was being recorded, and he was always forced to pick and choose from his mammoth collection. Fortunately for that fan, time has slowly unlocked these vaults from yesteryear, and more and more of his unreleased material is finally available as legitimate recordings.

So to breakdown the structure of this package, we first get the original The River double album. After those twenty songs, we then get the exact running order of the scrapped single record. As mentioned, there are a lot of repeats, but it looks like Bruce was going for authenticity as opposed to economy.

We then get treated to about ten or twelve unreleased songs. I’m sure the faithful have probably heard most of these tracks in some sort of bootlegged fashion, but for most fans, this might be the first time they’ve heard any of these songs. As expected, all of these songs are very good and definitely have the familiar Springsteen brand. Maybe they have been unreleased because they don’t sound that much different from everything else he was putting out around this time. That would be a fair assumption. There’s nothing among these “new” songs that are particularly earth shattering, but they all do sound just as good as everything else that he had done, and they’re all obviously Bruce and the E. Street Band. It’s a welcome experience.

We then get another ten or twelve songs recorded around the same time that did get released on the humongous Tracks box set and/or his Essential package.

The package also includes a concert DVD from around the same time period that also included a documentary and tour rehearsals. I haven’t seen it, but you really don’t have to have seen it to know that it was probably incredible.

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