Ties That Bind (The)

Unreleased 1979 Studio Album
Audio type: 16 bit/44.1 kHz (CD Audio)
Recorded Holmdel, NJ 1979 The Power Station, New York, NY 1979

Track listing:
1. The Ties That Bind
2. Cindy
3. Hungry Heart
4. Stolen Car
5. To 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

Notes:
Unlike most upgrades, this 2011 edition of The Ties That Bind utilizes the same source tapes: a pair of 15 IPS, half-track reels that turned up at a Pasadena swap meet in the early '90s. The initial transfer of those reelsfrom which, to be clear, ALL known copies and releases emanatewas done on a rented open-reel tape deck to DAT at 16 bit/48 kHz. There was no playback azimuth correction. No demagnetization of the heads (at least they were cleaned between tape sides). No correcting for balanced/unbalanced connections. In short, it was the best transfer that could be made given the time and circumstances (c'mon, we were kids then) and it sounded damn good, all things considered, because they were, after all, master tapes.
However, we always knew it could sound even better. And given historic nature of the material and the source, The Ties That Bind deserved an upgraded transfer. In late 2010, that finally happened. There was baking involved, as the tapes had degraded in the two decades since the initial transfer was made. This time, the reel-to-reel tape deck was best of breed, what the pros use, in a proper studio, calibrated and adjusted in every way for optimal playback and capture at 24/96 using the best possible sound card, cabling, etc. The nature of how this transfer was made compels me to be silent on the equipment details, but suffice it to say that no one among us to could make a transfer this good.

But The Ties That Bind already sounded great, so how much better could an upgrade be? Well, we think it is materially upgraded, everything you ever loved about the original TTTB only better. The stereo separation is improved, the highs higher and the lows lower. Quoting my own original notes, "the only sonic flaw is on the introduction to Stolen Car. Because of the extremely quiet nature of the piano passage that begins the song, some hiss is evident on the CD that would have been masked on an LP…so the hiss has been left intact."

For all intents and purposes that hiss is now gone/dramatically reduced, not through computer noise reduction but proper playback. The 24/96 capture and superior playback deck simply extracted more out of the tape than the DAT and rental unit did the first time around. And, we're making both the CD-quality and 24/96 high resolution files available to you. Consider this the
audiophile edition of The Ties That Bind.

For mastering, we enlisted Erno, the man behind the EV2 releases and collaborator on prior JEMS upgrades, to apply a very light touch in the spirit of the original EQ notes on the tape boxes. We stayed away from heavy compression and anything that would modernize the sound. Our goal was to make it sound as good as it could and should have in 1980. And it still sounds better than the official CD of The River.

What's remarkable in 2011 is that most tracks on this "temporary assembly" of the album remain unreleased. "Cindy" is the one major River outtake that Bruce is still sitting on. The alternate verse in "The Price You Pay" remains lost. The rockabilly "You Better Not Touch" has never seen the light of day, nor the double-tracked vocal take of "To Be True." "Stolen Car" is a different take to the one on Tracks and even "The Ties That Bind," "The River" and "I Wanna Marry You" are each alternate takes or mixes from the released versions. "Hungry Heart" and now "Loose Ends" are the most like their official selves, but still distinct.

With this release, one of the most important unreleased recordings in the Springsteen bootleg canon finally gets remastered. Shame that we are getting to it before he gets to The River,
isn't it?


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