UPDATE (5/8/18): CDJapan is now taking orders for a CD version of the box. Fans have certainly been vocal in their desire for such a release, but we cannot yet confirm that the box will be released in any other market.
ORIGINAL POST (3/29/18): Bruce Springsteen is riding high. Following a remarkable tour in which he performed some of the longest concerts of his career (4+ intermission-less hours!), The Boss released a rapturously received autobiography, appropriately entitled Born to Run. He then adapted the book into Springsteen on Broadway, a sold-out, critically-acclaimed spoken word-and-music residence at the intimate Walter Kerr Theatre which has been extended through December 2018. Now, the artist is looking back with a second volume of The Album Collection. This release spans the period of 1987-1996, picking up where Volume 1 – released back in November 2014 – left off. It’s due on May 18 from Columbia Records and Legacy Recordings on vinyl only. Unlike the previous box set, no CD release has been announced.
Volume 2 contains four studio albums, one live album, and two EPs on 10 vinyl LPs – all remastered by Bob Ludwig and Toby Scott from the original analogue masters via The Plangent Process playback system (also utilized for Volume 1). The set chronicles Springsteen’s adventurous, experimental period during and following the dissolution of The E Street Band. While the band’s members are all present in guest spots on 1987’s Tunnel of Love (and the band would tour the album) it was a mostly solo, introspective affair highlighted by such standout tracks as “Brilliant Disguise,” “Tougher than the Rest,” “One Step Up,” and the title track. Tunnel is followed by the pair of albums released by Springsteen on the same day, March 31, 1992: Human Touch and Lucky Town. Though Roy Bittan was on board as a musician and co-producer, the only other E Streeters to make an appearance on Human Touch were Patti Scialfa and former member David Sancious. The album instead welcomed studio veterans like Jeff Porcaro and Randy Jackson as well as background vocals from Sam Moore of Sam and Dave and Bobby Hatfield of The Righteous Brothers. Human Touch scored hits with its title song and “57 Channels (And Nothin’ On).” Lucky Town employed a sparer sound and seemingly a more personal approach than Human Touch. Bittan and Scialfa were on hand, along with drummer Gary Mallaber, Randy Jackson, Faces’ Ian McLagan, and future E Street touring member Soozie Tyrell. The album yielded favorites such as “Better Days” and “If I Should Fall Behind.”
The box continues with 1993’s live album In Concert/MTV Plugged (featuring Bittan, Scialfa, and Bruce’s touring band) and then with 1995’s The Ghost of Tom Joad, a dark, stripped-down spiritual sequel to Nebraska that was hailed by many as his best album in years, and certainly his most adventurous. Garry Tallent, Danny Federici, Scialfa, and Tyrell all contributed to the album. Two EPs round out the box’s contents. 1988’s Chimes of Freedom was released in support of Amnesty International’s Human Rights Now! tour. Anchored by a cover of Bob Dylan’s title song, it also featured live versions of “Tougher than the Rest,” “Born to Run,” and the rare B-side “Be True.” Blood Brothers, the second EP, was originally released in 1996 to coincide with a film of the same name chronicling The E Street Band’s temporary reunion to record additional tracks for Springsteen’s Greatest Hits LP (which isn’t included in this box set but will be released on vinyl for Record Store Day on April 21). Blood Brothers has five tracks from the reunited band – four from the studio sessions and one (“Murder Incorporated”) live, as heard in the song’s music video.
In Concert/MTV Plugged makes its U.S. vinyl debut in this box set, while Blood Brothers is a worldwide vinyl premiere. A 60-page book featuring memorabilia, photos, and period press clippings is included with the set. Look for The Album Collection Vol. 2, 1987-1996 from Columbia/Legacy on May 18. Pre-order links are available below!
Additionally, Springsteen fan site Backstreets.com reports that, “For even more from the era, a concurrent digital-only release will tie up some loose ends, gathering B-sides and live tracks from ’90s singles that had yet to be made available on digital platforms to date (recall the numerous live tracks from Joad singles, etc.)” Watch this space for more information!
LPs 1-2: Tunnel of Love (Columbia OC 40999, 1987)
LPs 3-4: Human Touch (Columbia C 53000, 1992)
LP 5: Lucky Town (Columbia C 53001, 1992)
LPs 6-7: In Concert/MTV Plugged (Columbia CK 68730, 1993) **
LP 8: The Ghost of Tom Joad (Columbia C 67484, 1995)
LP 9: Chimes of Freedom (Columbia 4C 44445, 1988)
LP 10: Blood Brothers (Columbia CSK 8879, 1996) *
* previously unreleased on vinyl
** previously unreleased on vinyl in the U.S.