February 27, 2009
A couple of summers ago, I picked up the 3-disc The Essential Bruce Springsteen album in an El Corte Ingles in Granada, Spain. I was road-tripping it around the country and needed some good tunes. But somehow, the third disc completely escaped my notice until a few weeks ago. It turned out to be comprised of a number of previously unreleased songs recorded over a long and fruitful career. After popping it in, I gleefully discovered a couple of new fantastic, classic Boss songs.
I experienced the same excitement earlier this week when I picked up Springsteen’s 18 Tracks while browsing in Barnes & Noble. That album similarly includes rarities, B-tracks and outtakes. (How did I ever miss “The Promise,” which is apparently a continuation of “Thunder Road”?) I felt like a kid who had just gotten herself locked overnight in a candy store.
Although few artists are as prolific as Springsteen, many artists have a lot of work floating around out there that has not made it onto a studio album. Much of that work is either pre-fame or covers, found on random bootlegs or videos, but every once in awhile you can find a previously unheard original that simply never made it onto a studio album. The best part, for fans, is that these tracks come with zero expectations and a big payoff. It’s simply an opportunity to acquire a more all-encompassing view of a favorite and to achieve new insight into them as artists.
What are your favorite non-(studio) album tracks by your favorite artists?
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