‘Chapter And Verse’ by Bruce Springsteen (Album)

30 September, 2016 in Music Reviews

Bruce Springsteen

Bruce Springsteen: in poetic troubadour mode

The companion album to The Boss’ autobiography ‘Born To Run’ is worth it for the five previously unreleased tracks alone

Bruce Springsteen 'Chapter And Verse' album coverChapter And Verse is the audio companion to Bruce Springsteen’s autobiography, Born To Run. It’s 18 tracks present a chronological history of The Boss’ work, with the earliest song dating from 1966 and the most recent being the title track from his 2012 album Wrecking Ball. Though much of the record will be well known to most fans, it’s the inclusion of five unreleased numbers that demand attention.

The story begins with two songs Springsteen recorded with his high school band, The Castiles. Baby I is a typical rock ‘n’ roller from 1966 whereas things get a little more raucous on the Bo Diddley number You Can’t Judge A Book By The Cover (written by Willie Dixon). The prize asset among these early cuts is The Ballad of Jesse James, credited to The Bruce Springsteen Band it hints at the fired-up sound that would eventually become his E Street signature. The presence of Stevie Van Zandt, David Sancious and Garry Tallent is also worth noting. The last of these unheard tracks is Henry Boy. It’s a song which could sit comfortable on Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J. and finds Springsteen in poetic troubadour mode.

The rest of the album is filled with classics such as Born To Run and Born In The U.S.A., as well as fan favourites Badlands, The River and Living Proof. Though they may be less than essential listening for those who own Springsteen’s back catalogue, these songs take on a new meaning within the context of his story. Just one example is My Father’s House, which becomes even more significant considering the struggles Springsteen had with his father.

If you own a copy of the book then Chapter And Verse is necessary listening, but even if you don’t, it is worth devoting your time to an album which shows the evolution of a once-in-a-lifetime artist.

Verdict: Bossing it his whole life

Duncan Haskell

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