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‘Chapter and Verse’ review: Bruce Springsteen album supplements autobiography

Bruce Springsteen's

Bruce Springsteen's "Chapter and Verse" on Columbia Records Credit: Columbia Records


“Chapter and Verse”


BOTTOM LINE Companion album to Springsteen’s “Born to Run” autobiography is long on memories, short on must-haves.

Psychoacoustics is the scientific study of how physical and psychological factors affect the way each individual processes the sounds that we hear.

One of the field’s many findings is that there is something called a “phantom fundamental,” a tone that our brains process as something we hear even when it’s not there because of the other tones that are being played.

There is no real psychological equivalent to the “phantom fundamental,” but if there was, it would be the primary valid reason for Bruce Springsteen fans to pick up “Chapter and Verse” (Columbia), the companion album to his much-anticipated autobiography, “Born to Run,” which hits stores Tuesday, Sept. 27. Springsteen chose the 18 songs on “Chapter and Verse” to reflect the themes of the book and to help trace his musical journey from a teenager in The Castiles to the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer he is today.

For Springsteen collectors, the album offers five previously unreleased tracks. From The Castiles’ archives come the Beatlesque “Baby I” and garage rock take on Willie Dixon’s “You Can’t Judge a Book by the Cover.” Steel Mill’s prog-rock jam “He’s Guilty (The Judge Song)” and the Bruce Springsteen Band’s “Ballad of Jesse James,” which owes a bit to The Band. None of those tracks will merit more than a few listens for curiosity’s sake, though Springsteen’s “Henry Boy” will likely draw some interest because it sounds like an early version of “Rosalita.”

The remaining 13 songs are tried-and-true Springsteen. Yes, “Born to Run” is here, so is “Born in the U.S.A.” in case you forgot what those sound like. But maybe that’s where the “phantom fundamental” comes in. After all, it’s impossible to hear those songs or “Badlands” or “Wrecking Ball” and not recall a glorious concert where Springsteen turned them into indelible memories.

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