Bruce Springsteen – The Lost Gems 1972-1978 Bootleg – Why Everyone Should Take Another Look!
If you don’t have a high interest towards bootlegs. I’ll suggest to skip this blog post. This one goes deep and requires a tin foil hat….
About 10-15 years ago I gave away most of my Bruce Springsteen bootlegs (CD-R/DVD-R), and I only kept some to myself. The Lost Gems 1972-1978 by the “Ultimate Sound” was one of them. For over 15 years this has been one of my favorite bootlegs ever. I really don’t know why. There’s just something special about this collection. I’m mostly focusing on early days 1969-1973 anyways, and the studio outtakes.
Sometimes there is a bootleg that doesn’t get much attention. This collection of rare Bruce Springsteen tracks is one of them. With the “fan release” Odds & Sods this bootleg got a totally different meaning.
The Lost Gems bootleg was released in 2001.
The Lost Gems 1972-1978 is one of the most underrated/overlooked Bruce Springsteen bootlegs that has been released. Release that has been flying under the radar all these years. I’ve never done real comparison between other releases, but lately I’ve been looking into this collection more closely.
Why should someone pay any attention to this generic looking bootleg featuring collection of tracks we all have heard?
There are two reasons. First is the amazing sound quality. Tracks sounds slightly better than what’s on the Deep Down in The Vaults and other bootlegs versions. This not a 1:1 copy from other sources either. Deep Down in the Vaults is a tiny tiny bit rougher. Or maybe I’m hallucinating. Sound upgrade is really really minor, but for those seeking for best of the best. This is a nice collection.
Another reason is even more interesting. I’m pretty sure that this collection comes from the same source who gave us the Odds and Sods collection last year. I’m sure the same trader circle is behind the Deep Down in the Vaults (too) I’m gonna talk about this later on this blog post.
Let’s see what’s inside:
Comparison done with El Cheapo headphones.
01 – If I Was The Priest (Piano Demo 1972)
Best sounding version available. Just a slightly more natural than the version on the Genuine Tracks bootleg. Stunning performance. This and Cowboys of the Sea are my favorites from the 1972 demos. I wonder why this track has not been on the Tracks box-set or the Chapter & Verse collection. I’m 99% sure this was recorded later with the band in Greetings sessions. Same goes with the Cowboys of the Sea. Does Mike Appel has something to do with lack of pre E Street era demos not seeing the light of day (Officially). – “The Always suspecting Brucetapes”
02 – The Ballad Of Jesse James (Studio Session 1972) *****
Better quality than the Uber version. And this track is not “remastered to higher volume”, there is still room to breath.
03 – You Mean So Much To Me (WGOE Studios, Richmond, VA, May 31, 1973)
Once again a stunning quality track. Amazing very dynamic recording. Not compressed as the Uber version. Uber version also has few parts where the sound crackles. This one doesn’t have the crackle.
04 – Rosalita (Come Out Tonight) (Earliest Known Performance of the Song, 1973)*****
I don’t know where this has been taken from. Sound quality is superb however.
05 – Blinded By The Light (Joe’s Place, Boston, MA, January 6, 1974)*****
Slighty better than the Deep Down in the Vaults version. Little more natural and dynamic.
07 – Jungleland (The Record Plant, New York, NY, March/July, 1975)
Pretty much identical to DDITV version. Maybe a little more natural tone.
08 – Backstreets (The Record Plant, New York, NY, March/July, 1975)
My favorite version of the Backstreets ever. I prefer this over the album version. Much more passion, Pretty much identical to DDITV version. Maybe a little more natural tone. One of those tracks that should be released officially.
09 – Crazy Rocker (The Record Plant, New York, NY, November 1977 to April 1978)
Stronger and more dynamic than the DDITV version. Great outtake!
10 – The Promise (The Record Plant, New York, NY, November 1977 to April 1978)
Best version of the Promise ever. Also my all time favorite track. I wonder why this has not been released. There is just something magical about this performance.
11 – Get That Feeling (The Record Plant, New York, NY, November 1977 to April 1978)
Not much different than the DDITV.
12 – Independence Day (Darkness on the Edge of Town Outtakes 1977)
Still the same buried vocals as the other versions. Only non-interesting track.
Yes, this is a subtle upgrade of what we have heard, but the next part is more interesting…
The Lost Gems and Odds & Sods?
This is where it goes interesting. Here’s the original notes from the Odds & Sods collection. Pay attention to tracks in bold font with *****:
“Bruce Springsteen – Odds & Sods – 13 recordings you have (probably) never heard, number 12 will delight you!
A collection of rare and unreleased recordings from 1972-2005
Just to be clear, I’m not your average Bruce collector. Over the decades, I befriend people near the band, close to the label and yes other collectors, too, all over the world. When those sources come to visit my country, I ask them to bring some rare tapes and I gave them something special in return, not always music!
Each year I follow what goes up on Jungleland to see if any of those special tapes is released. Some have. But I rarely post anything and sometimes I think I should. Two years ago I took a trip to the US and drove across the country. My rental car had satellite radio in it so what did I listen to? E Street Radio! And on that channel I was surprised to hear some music even collectors don’t have. Outtakes like “Lonely Night in the Park.” I asked someone how they are allowed to do that, and my friend tells me, “Bruce told E Street Radio if they can find it, they can play it!” Then I began looking through my collection after reading Bruce’s book and thinking about interesting periods of his career that were covered, some that weren’t and some of the tapes I have that go along.
My thoughts were just random songs, tracks that stand alone, but don’t exactly go together other than they are interesting. A live track. Outtake. Soundcheck. Alternate take.
Springsteen is my favorite artist of all time, but second is The Who. And one of my favorite Who albums of all time is Odds & Sods, a collection of random tracks. And I thought, wouldn’t it be cool to make a Bruce Springsteen Odds & Sods, just some rare songs from over the years that don’t belong together but they do?
This is Bruce Springsteen Odds & Sods. Why is this song on there? That song on there, but not that other song? I don’t know. I don’t care. Some of these felt like they should come out. Others are my favorites, maybe not yours. They have almost nothing in common other than you probably haven’t heard any of them before. And if you have, sorry! Neil Young had his own Odds & Sods album called Lucky Thirteen. This is my Lucky 13 songs for you.
I do want to thank my fellow collectors and friends who gave me these songs over theyears. You know who you are! Also, don’t be mad! But why have the music if no one gets to hear it?
1 Tunnel of Love – August 3, 2005 – Van Andel Arena, Grand Rapids, MI
Perhaps the most moving performance on the entire 2005 tour was “Tunnel of Love.” This stunning electric-piano arrangement is the only time Springsteen played it like this.
2 Coming Home – March 14, 1972 – Challenger Eastern Surfboards, Highlands. NJ*****
Six songs from this Bruce Springsteen Band recording session have previously circulated as part of the Uber series. “Coming Home” is one of two “lost” songs from Challenger beyond the original six. It was performed live by the Bruce Springsteen band in late 1971-early 1972.
3 Cadillac Ranch – Spring 1980 – Power Station, New York, NY
The mixing sessions for The River yielded endless alternate versions, most very similar to what was eventually released. This take of “Cadillac Ranch” includes experimental sound effects in the intro and a completely different lead guitar. A novelty to be sure, but still fun to hear.
4 Prove It All Night – July 5, 1978 – The Forum, Inglewood, CA
Who doesn’t want another soundboard version of “Prove It All Night” from 1978? Recorded two days before the famous Roxy broadcast, this recording opens with Bruce telling the story about defacing the Darkness On The Edge of Town billboard on the Sunset strip with spray paint.
5 State Trooper – November 15, 1999 – Gund Arena, Cleveland, OH
Other than a one-off version featuring Win and Regine from Arcade Fire in 2007, “State Trooper” has not been performed live in a full-band arrangement since the E Street Band reunited. During a 1999 soundcheck, Bruce worked on a new arrangement but it never made a set list.
6 Kitty’s Back – July?, 1973 – unknown venue*****
This is the earliest known live version of “Kitty’s Back.” No known details about its location or date, but lyrical variations (compared to later versions) suggest it is circa summer of 1973.
7 The Patriot Game – May 17, 2005 – Tower Theater, Upper Darby, PA
Bruce took at stab at this beloved Irish ballad penned by Dominic Behan during a 2005 soundcheck. Like “State Trooper,” it never appeared in an actual set.
8 Devils & Dust – April 11, 2003 – Pacific Coliseum, Vancouver, BC
Full-band run through of the then-new song two years before its release on the album of the same name. This soundcheck features an entirely different (though thematically similar) second verse and lyrical variations throughout.
9 Backstreets – August 6, 2005 – Fox Theater, St. Louis, MO
Of all the songs Bruce attempted as piano pieces on the D&D tour, he only got to this classic towards the end for but three appearances. An absolutely sublime performance, and Bruce’s reaction at the end suggests he even surprised himself with the majesty
of what he played.
10 Does This Bus Stop at 82nd Street? – January 6, 1974 – Joe’s Place, Cambridge, MA*****
In the afternoon before a gig at Joe’s Place, Bruce and the band ran through “Does This Bus Stop at 82nd Street?” for possible inclusion in a TV telethon for Muscular Dystrophy. That footage, if it was even filmed, has never surfaced, but this spirited take survives.
11 Gulf Coast Highway – May 1988, Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
During a soundcheck in the final days of the US Tunnel of Love tour, Bruce and the band try their hand at Nanci Griffith’s beautiful “Gulf Coast Highway.” While they never completed the arrangement or performed it in concert, this brief glimpse is lovely in its own right.
12 I’ll Stand By You Always – copyright June 13, 2001 – Thrill Hill East, Rumson, NJ
Bruce gave this to the producers of the first Harry Potter movie for possible inclusion. It went unused, but has been widely written about in recent months by those who have heard it.
13 Blood Brothers – January 9, 1995 – The Hit Factory, New York, NY
Bruce played “Blood Brothers” solo acoustic for the first time on opening night of the 2017 tour in Australia. During the 1995 Greatest Hits sessions, he tried it that way as well to stunning effect.
I hope you enjoy listening to these songs as much as I have. Feel free to do what youlike with this, if you do share it elsewhere, please keep the name and info unchanged.
Here’s the “conspiracy theory”. Get your tin foil hat! What are the odds (pun intended) that three of the tracks from early years are from the same dates as what is on the Lost Gems 1972-1978 collection? Also both releases mentions the earliest known performance, which adds even more confirmation for the theory. One can only wonder what kind of treasures there are left to be discovered. Can’t wait for Odds & Sods 2.
Did someone over the “uber circle” made money over these recordings during the golden era of silver pressed bootlegs. There weren’t any studio tracks coming from any of the “regultar” traders in those days. Now that people are getting older, and there is no money involved with the bootleg world. We are finally going to see more interesting releases coming from collectors, like the Odds & Sods?
Do you want to share your tapes? I will transfer your cassettes and share them with the community)
If you have any Bruce tapes from 1969-1973 era, I’m happy to do a high quality transfers, and to see if there are potential upgrades. Or any Bruce Springsteen concert cassette tapes you haven’t traded. I’ve been in Bruce Springsteen trading community for 20 years.
I can also do a really high quality VHS (PAL European) transfers to digital format. Fix the shaky picture and sound problems and much more, and upload them to YouTube in high resolution 1080p and 4k.
And send you a high quality digital copy in return.
My contact details can be found from the contact page.
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Brucetapes admin is a huge Bruce Springsteen (obviously) and a music fan from Finland. Also marketing his favorite natural store iherb everywhere, avid coffee drinker. Every blog post requires plenty of coffee. What else... Message Board lurker on Stony Pony London, Backstreets (BTX), Greasylake....