test:todo-ideas-theriverott1

Part One - Overview

"The River was a record that was sort of a gateway to a lot of my future writing. It's a record we made after Darkness on the Edge of Town, it was a record made during a recession, hard times in the States. Its title song is a song I wrote for my brother-in-law and sister. My brother-in-law was in the construction industry and lost his job and they had to struggle very hard back in the late 70s, like so many people are doing today. It was a record where I first started to tackle men and women and families and marriage. There were certain songs on it that led to complete records later on, "The River" sort of led to the writing on Nebraska, "Stolen Car" led to the writing on Tunnel of Love. It was a record where, originally it was a single record, I handed it with just one record and I took it back because I didn't feel it was big enough and I wanted to capture the themes that I'd been writing about on Darkness, I wanted to keep those characters with me and at the same time added the music that made our live shows so much fun and enjoyable for our audience. So in the end, we're gonna take you down to The River tonight."
Bruce Springsteen introducing a complete performance of The River album, Madison Square Garden, November 8, 2009.

Springsteen finished the Darkness On The Edge Of Town tour on January 1, 1979. For the next few months he kept a low profile and focused his attention on composing new material for his next album, recording many acoustic solo demos in the process, information on which can be found on the 1979 Solo Demos page. Recording sessions for what became The River album began in late March 1979 and finished in May 1980 - but were to some extent extended into August due to Springsteen & The E Street Band’s involvement with Gary US Bonds on his April 1981 album Dedication.

All formal studio sessions (including the US Bonds sessions) took place at The Power Station in New York City. However there were extensive song rehearsal sessions (Thom Zimny's The Ties That Bind documentary states that 104 band demos were created during this time) with the E Street Band throughout the making of the album that didn't take place at The Power Station. These rehearsals took place in a converted barn on Springsteen’s Telegraph Hill Road property in Holmdel, NJ – the so-nicknamed "Telegraph Hill Studios". However it wasn't a true studio. A significant amount of the River session audio that has surfaced comes from these Telegraph Hill sessions. Unfortunately the audio quality from Telegraph Hill leaves much to be desired. It sounds as if a single boom recording mike was used. Springsteen’s vocals are buried under the instruments on virtually all these recordings.

According to engineer Neil Dorfsman about fifty songs were recorded to a completed state during the River sessions. The Ties That Bind documentary gives us a figure of fifty-three songs. However The River, despite being a double album only included twenty songs, so about thirty-three finished songs remained in the vaults. Twenty-seven of those thirty-three "missing" recordings have since been officially released via b-sides, Tracks, The Essential Bruce Springsteen, The River: Single Album and The River: Outtakes. Information culled from Sony's studio logs gives us another nine songs that were definitely recorded in the studio, but perhaps not to completion. This figure includes several songs that were recorded with a Springsteen vocal but later given to Gary U.S. Bonds. These nine songs are either not circulating at all (such as "Do You Want Me To Say Alright" and "I Will Be The One"), or only as poorly recorded band rehearsals from Telegraph Hill (e.g. "Under The Gun"). All this gives us the following list of sixty-eight songs which includes a total of fifty-three from this period that were recorded or are most likely to have been recorded and completed during The River/Bonds sessions.

THE TIES THAT BIND 3:29 THE RIVER / THE RIVER: SINGLE ALBUM
SHERRY DARLING 4:00 THE RIVER
JACKSON CAGE 3:02 THE RIVER
TWO HEARTS 2:39 THE RIVER
INDEPENDENCE DAY 4:39 THE RIVER
HUNGRY HEART 3:15 THE RIVER / THE RIVER: SINGLE ALBUM
OUT IN THE STREET 4:15 THE RIVER
CRUSH ON YOU 3:08 THE RIVER
YOU CAN LOOK (BUT YOU BETTER NOT TOUCH) 2:34 THE RIVER
I WANNA MARRY YOU 3:57 THE RIVER / THE RIVER: SINGLE ALBUM
THE RIVER 4:56 THE RIVER / THE RIVER: SINGLE ALBUM
POINT BLANK 5:59 THE RIVER
CADILLAC RANCH 3:01 THE RIVER
I'M A ROCKER 3:32 THE RIVER
FADE AWAY 4:36 THE RIVER
STOLEN CAR 3:50 THE RIVER
RAMROD 3:57 THE RIVER
THE PRICE YOU PAY 5:24 THE RIVER / THE RIVER: SINGLE ALBUM
DRIVE ALL NIGHT 8:22 THE RIVER
WRECK ON THE HIGHWAY 3:44 THE RIVER
HELD UP WITHOUT A GUN 1:13 1980/1985 b-side / THE RIVER: OUTTAKES
BE TRUE 3:37 1981 b-side / TRACKS / THE RIVER: SINGLE ALBUM
ROULETTE 3:49 1988 b-side / TRACKS / THE RIVER: OUTTAKES
BRING ON THE NIGHT 2:35 TRACKS
RESTLESS NIGHTS 3:41 TRACKS / THE RIVER: OUTTAKES
DOLLHOUSE 3:29 TRACKS / THE RIVER: OUTTAKES
WHERE THE BANDS ARE 3:42 TRACKS / THE RIVER: OUTTAKES
LOOSE ENDS / LOOSE END 4:00 TRACKS / THE RIVER: SINGLE ALBUM
LIVING ON THE EDGE OF THE WORLD 4:14 TRACKS / THE RIVER: OUTTAKES
TAKE 'EM AS THEY COME 4:25 TRACKS / THE RIVER: OUTTAKES
RICKY WANTS A MAN OF HER OWN 2:43 TRACKS / THE RIVER: OUTTAKES
I WANNA BE WITH YOU 3:15 TRACKS / THE RIVER: OUTTAKES
MARY LOU 3:18 TRACKS / THE RIVER: OUTTAKES
STOLEN CAR (Vs.1) 4:30 TRACKS / THE RIVER: SINGLE ALBUM
FROM SMALL THINGS (BIG THINGS ONE DAY COME) 2:42 ESSENTIAL / THE RIVER: OUTTAKES
CINDY 2:25 THE RIVER: SINGLE ALBUM
YOU CAN LOOK (BUT YOU BETTER NOT TOUCH) (Vs.1) 2:09 THE RIVER: SINGLE ALBUM
MEET ME IN THE CITY 3:35 THE RIVER: OUTTAKES
THE MAN WHO GOT AWAY 3:31 THE RIVER: OUTTAKES
LITTLE WHITE LIES 2:39 THE RIVER: OUTTAKES
THE TIME THAT NEVER WAS 3:39 THE RIVER: OUTTAKES
NIGHT FIRE 4:44 THE RIVER: OUTTAKES
WHITETOWN 3:23 THE RIVER: OUTTAKES
CHAIN LIGHTNING 2:49 THE RIVER: OUTTAKES
PARTY LIGHTS 3:09 THE RIVER: OUTTAKES
STRAY BULLET 6:09 THE RIVER: OUTTAKES
PARADISE BY THE "C" 3:10 THE RIVER: OUTTAKES
JANEY NEEDS A SHOOTER 6:50 rough
FIND IT WHERE YOU CAN rough
BREAK MY HEART rough
OUT ON THE RUN (LOOKING FOR LOVE) rough
UNDER THE GUN rough
unknown title 3:41 private
LOVE WON'T LET YOU DOWN (?) 2:30 private
unknown title 7:50 private
I DON'T WANNA BE rough
CHEVROLET DELUXE rough
SLOW FADE rough
JOLE BLON rough
DO YOU WANT ME TO SAY ALRIGHT uncirculating
ANGELYNE uncirculating
A THOUSAND TEARS (WILLIAM DAVIS) uncirculating
I WILL BE THE ONE uncirculating
TONIGHT uncirculating
I'M GONNA TREAT YOU RIGHT uncirculating
DEDICATION uncirculating
YOUR LOVE uncirculating
THIS LITTLE GIRL uncirculating

Some of the studio session detail below is courtesy of Clinton Heylin's book E Street Shuffle - The Glory Days of Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band.

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