For the second time in 12 years, Santa Claus has come to town early for Springsteen fans. In 1986 Santa's sleigh contained a much-anticipated live box set. This time around, it's Tracks, a four-CD collection of 66 songs (56 of which have never been released), that chronicles the musical and lyrical growth of one of rock's most passionate torchbearers. This box set reveals that for the last 25 years, Springsteen has written and recorded hundreds of songs of incredible depth and quality, many of which have not seen the light of day. The fact that these songs have not been previously released is a testament not only to his talent, but also to his quest for continuity on each recording. These are songs that simply did not fit in on earlier albums. From the first four songs, with the gusty, white-knuckled audition with CBS's legendary John Hammond at the controls, through the badass rockin' '70s and '80s, to the introspective acoustic tunes of the '90s, this collection is, indeed, the Holy Grail of box sets.
John J. Kelly