To the Editor:
I am writing in regard to Anthony Violanti's review of Bruce Springsteen's box set, "Tracks" (Gusto, Nov. 13). Not to be nitpicking but to clear up a couple of things mentioned in Mr. Violanti's article -- "Seaside Bar Song" was not the first number recorded with saxman Clarence Clemons. "Seaside Bar Song" was recorded on June 28, 1973. Clarence appeared on Bruce's debut album, "Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J.," which was recorded in June 1972 and released on Jan. 5, 1973.
Also, "Give It a Name" was not a new song as reported in the review. Bruce did rerecord it in August, but the song was written and recorded back in 1990. Springsteen wanted the song for the box set but was unable to locate the original master tape, so he recut the track.
I would disagree with Mr. Violanti's statements that "The songs on Disc 1 are the strongest in the set" and "The other three discs don't quite live up to that exciting period (Disc 1)." I believe Discs 2 and 3 contain Bruce's best previously unreleased songs. Cuts such as "Loose Ends," "Restless Nights," "Take 'Em as They Come" and "My Love Will Not Let You Down," among others, illustrate Springsteen's ability to streamline his wordiness yet still maintain power and passion.
I think what was missed in Mr. Violanti's critique was how the box set showcased the "fun" side of Bruce Springsteen's music. Many tracks, especially on Discs 2 and 3 -- "Living on the Edge of the World," "Cynthia," "Where the Bands Are," "Stand on It" -- portray Bruce's lighthearted point of view. With the exception of 1980's "The River" album, Springsteen has been reluctant to put out songs that reflect his lighter side. What makes Springsteen such a thrilling, dynamic live performer is his ability to mix his serious tunes with the exuberant, joyful songs from his catalog. Ultimately, that is the "Tracks" box set's greatest strength -- displaying Springsteen's ability to show how much he can be fun and important.