Chimes of Freedom
is an EP that contains four live tracks by Bruce Springsteen. Released originally as a cassette in 1987, it was later released in CD format in 1988. There are two or three CD versions, one of which does not include the intro to Chimes of Freedom
or the guitar solo in Tougher Than the Rest
. The version I am reviewing has both of those.
Bruce Springsteen – Chimes of Freedom
Tougher Than the Rest
starts out with a few seconds of applause, then Max Weinberg comes in on the drums. Max is soon joined by some clean guitar picking and synthesizer. Bruce’s voice is pretty much spot-on, sounding almost exactly like it does on his studio albums. Just after the three minute mark, a nice guitar solo comes in. The solo is slow, as to fit the pace of the song, but it fits nicely. The lyrics in this song talk about the different kinds of guys that girls want; but sometimes you just have to settle for what you can get.
“Some girls they want a handsome Dan or some good-lookin' Joe on their arm
Some girls like a sweet-talkin' Romeo. Well 'round here baby
I learned you get what you can get, so if you're rough enough for love
Honey I'm tougher than the rest."
begins with a one-two-three count by Bruce. The band explodes with some great playing, including some stellar saxophone work. Roy Bittan’s piano playing also stands out nicely. The lyrics, as the title suggests, are about being true to your lover and proving your love. Max Weinberg’s drumming is a major highlight of this album. He lays down a solid beat in every song, as well as throwing in some great fills. Bruce’s vocals are once again nigh-perfect; it’s always nice to hear an artist that can translate their songs live the way they sound on the albums.
Chimes of Freedom
is a cover of Bob Dylan’s classic. It starts out with Bruce promoting the Amnesty International Tour that was going to take place a few months later. He encourages the audience to attend the tour, and also to “let freedom ring." When Bruce is done talking, a keyboard starts playing the vocal line. I’m a huge Dylan fan, so I like Dylan’s version better, but Bruce does the song justice. After the first verse, the drums and guitars come in. A few verses were cut out by Bruce, so this song is only about six minutes long, as opposed to around nine minutes. I would have liked this song a lot better if it was done acoustically with all the verses, but this shorter electric version is still pretty good.
The version of Born to Run
included on this album is just Bruce singing with his acoustic guitar and harmonica. As opposed to the uplifting, epic album version, this version is more mellow and melancholy. At certain points, Bruce’s voice barely reaches above a whisper. Whenever he says “Tramps like us, baby we were born to run," the crowd erupts with applause. During the final minute and a half or so, Bruce and the crowd exchange some “whoa-oh-oh’s" before Bruce ends the song with some nice harmonica playing. This is definitely a great way to end a good live EP.
If you’re a fan of Springsteen, I definitely recommend this. Bruce is great and full of energy live, and this album is no exception. In my opinion, it’s worth the money just for the acoustic version of Born to Run
“Someday girl, I don’t know when, we’re gonna get to that place
Where we really want to go, and we’ll walk in the sun
But till then tramps like us, baby we were born to run."