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Darkness COVER
Annual Bruce Springsteen Gift Guide for 2014 Black Friday and beyond…

by Pete Chianca – Blogness on the Edge of Town

(Updated and edited version of the original post.)

If you’re anything like me, right about now you’re so stuffed with gravy that the thought of heading out for a Black Friday shopping spree is about as appealing as … well, anything other than just continuing to sit here, watching football with your belt undone. But gifts must be got at some point, and if there’s a Springsteen fan on your list, you could do a lot worse than any of the items listed below:

MUSIC

Bruce Springsteen: The Album Collection Vol. 1, 1973-1984, the rather expensive reissue of Springsteen’s first seven albums. There’s no doubt that Bruce Springsteen continues to make relevant music, in addition to having one of the great back catalogs of all time. But that’s not to say his publicity and marketing arm couldn’t stand a good kick in the pants now and again. The Walmart greatest hits debacle of 2009 comes to mind. What really got people riled is the cross section of “some of Bruce’s most loyal fans” (to quote brucespringsteen.net) gathered at Jack’s Music Shop to listen to the new, improved recordings, and who even got to experience a drop-in from the man himself. The lack of women is so blatantly apparent it’s amazing that nobody at Bruce Inc. or Sony felt a need to rectify it. Like a lot of fans whose comments I’ve read on social media, I’ve had my doubts about this release since it was announced — the Springsteen completist in me wants that hefty box on my shelf, but my practical side tells me that there’s no way I’m going to get $99 worth of listening pleasure (or $200 for the vinyl) out of it on my piddly “sound system,” no matter how brilliant the engineering is. Also, I’m saving up for that elusive River boxed set that’s rumored to follow.

BOOKS

Outlaw Pete, Bruce Springsteen and Frank Caruso’s children’s book rode into stores November 4th. The book is based on an eight-minute ballad from Springsteen’s 2009 ‘Working on a Dream’ album about a young bank robber who regrets his criminal ways. The tale and the song was inspired by memories of 1950s children’s book ‘Brave Cowboy Bill’. In Bruce’s own words: “Outlaw Pete is an adult book, illustrated by Frank Caruso, who drew and painted its pages. Caruso does more than illustrate the song. His approach, immaculately detailed, simple when it needs to be, parallels Springsteen’s blend of absurdity and meditation.”

There are other Bruce book options. The trick for any would-be teacher of Springsteen, of course, is finding the right textbook, and Scarecrow Press has a good contender: Bruce Springsteen, American Poet and Prophet by Donald L. Deardorff hits just the right tone, tackling Springsteen’s work in themed chapters rather than shackling itself to a chronological take. It’s definitely academic — “breezy” is not a word I’d associate with Deardorff’s prose — but it’s also thoughtful and trenchant, and would be a perfect introduction to Springsteen’s themes for someone just wading into the canon.

The Light in Darkness, Lawrence Kirsch’s collection of fan stories and amazing photos from the Darkness tour era, which only has a few copies left available in its limited edition.

(Click Here to Save on Shipping: The Light in Darkness)

The Light in Darkness

And we of course recommend our very own Glory Days: Springsteen’s Greatest Albums — granted it’s hard to wrap because it’s an eBook, but you can always get it as a treat for yourself, a steal at only $2.65 on Amazon!

When it comes to Springsteen pedigrees, you don’t get much more, well, pedigree-able: Christopher Phillips is the editor of Backstreets magazine and webmaster of go-to fansite Backstreets.com, and his collaborator Louis P. Masur is an American Studies professor at Rutgers (that’s in Jersey!) and author of Runaway Dream, one of the best of the recent slew of Springsteen books. Talk About A Dream, their collection of interviews with Bruce Springsteen draws from his four-decade career. Most of Talk’s 428 pages contain material unique to the volume, all of it revealing, much of it absolutely essential.

You don’t have to get further than page 30 for evidence: That’s where you’ll find “The Lost Interviews” from 1975, a series of sit-downs with European press that were locked in a vault for years; they were excerpted in Backstreets magazine in the ‘90s but never published in full, until now. It’s a loss that needed to be rectified: Catching Springsteen on the cusp of his first major success, it cements themes and attitudes he would go back to again and again during his career. Using primarily Springsteen’s own words pays big dividends, and not just because fans will be able to hear his Jersey cadences and full-throated laugh in their heads as they go. He’s remarkably open and thoughtful, and you can see him gradually building and shaping the themes and concerns that have marked his career: his responsibility to the audience, the forces that drive his writing — from the psychological to the sociological — and the fact that he takes his job deadly seriously, no matter how much fun it is.

FINE ART

You can’t go wrong with a Springsteen painting. Or maybe you can. But we prefer photographic imagery for our walls, visit RoccosPhototavern.com, featuring some of the best Springsteen concert shots this side of the Mississippi. And be sure to say hello to Rocco for us.

BruceBuds

An on line store featuring hand crafted wristbands, Brucelets, necklaces and key chains made special by adding a date of your choice. Also the new BruceBuds Knitted hats in various colours. And if that is not enough, they also have in stock Brucebuds “Glow in the dark” wristbands as well as the great ESB and Drive all night Car stickers – See more at: BruceBuds.com

Good luck everyone and Happy Shopping!

Limited Edition Bruce Springsteen book, The Light in Darkness, less than 100 copies left.Focusing on Springsteen’s 1978 Darkness on The Edge of Town album and tour with amazing photos and stories.
Free Shipping: November 14-December 24,2014 The perfect gift for the Springsteen fan on your list.*
CLICK HERE TO SAVE NOW- The Light in Darkness
*(Guaranteed Delivery for Christmas for North America. Orders must be received no later than December 5.)
The Light in Darkness book is not sold in stores

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