June 4, 1984: An Alternative Companion
BIUSA Outtakes, Alternate Takes and Rough Mixes
02 None But the Brave
03 Drop On Down and Cover Me
05 Follow Than Dream
06 Janey Don't You Lose Heart (Steve back-up vocal)
07 My Love Won't Let You Down ("Oh, oh" vocals at the start)
08 Murder Incorporated (piano in intro)
09 Cover Me (full count in, full ending)
10 I'm on Fire (full ending)
11 Bobby Jean (full count in)
12 Pink Cadillac (different, full ending)
13 Dancing in the Dark (full ending with synth coda)
Tracks: 1-8 fresh transfer of circa 1986 cassette "BIUSA Outtakes Three"
Tracks: 9-13 fresh transfer of circa 1987 cassette "BIUSA Rough Mixes"
To mark the 30th Anniversary of the release of Born in the USA, JEMS went back through our many tapes of those sessions and attempted to reach out to those who had provided our copies in the first place. The goal was to see if anything remained that hadn't been released or upgraded over the years via bootlegs like The Lost Masters and Murder Incorporated: The Lost Masterpiece or fan releases like EV2's Unsatisfied Heart and our own Tape Deck Blastin'.
The material we've always referred to as the third batch of BIUSA outtakes is not well represented in the Lost Masters series, save for "Sugarland" and "Follow That Dream." And EV2's Unsatisfied Heart sources most of those tracks from Murder Incorporated: The Lost Masterpiece, upgrading the mastering but not the source itself.
JEMS was able to go back a generation from our copy and do a new transfer of that cassette, which as you can see above dates back nearly 30 years itself (though we failed going still another step closer, as the source of our source's copy confirmed his tape was lost). The third batch has always had sonic challenges, from the fumbling beginning of "Cynthia" to the sibilance in the vocals of "Drop On Down and Cover Me" and the brittle tone of "Sugarland." The sound of this material is in generally thin, overly bright and at times downright harsh. This is most likely down to several factors including including less than ideal dubbing back in the day and playback azimuth issues.
By going back a generation, correcting azimuth and mastering from tape, we think we have improved these songs to the point of calling them a material upgrade. They are by no means excellent, not even close, but we think they are superior to what's found on the aforementioned titles (save for "Sugarland" and "Follow That Dream" where the difference isn't as pronounced) and sound more like the material is "supposed" to sound. But you be the judge: Samples provided. We've omitted a few songs from the tape that are available in better quality elsewhere.
Tracks 09-13 are culled from a separate odd tape that had these rough mixes on the b-side of what were familiar outtakes on the a-side. The tape contains the entire BIUSA album in rough mix form circa March 1984 with "Pink Cadillac" on and "I'm Goin' Down" still off. The five tracks presented here are those for which the mix variants are unique and (debatably) notable. We don't believe these are found elsewhere. The sound quality isn't stellar (again, samples provided) but the trainspotters among you may get a kick out of these. I've noted the basic differences above and the key track here is surely the long "Dancing in the Dark" which, instead of fading out, extends the sax solo to conclusion before tacking on an intriguing synthesizer coda, not unlike the one also found on the alternate "Janey Don't You Lose Heart," also included here.
I've always preferred these versions of "My Love Will Not Let You Down" (with Bruce's joyous "Oh"s) and "Murder Incorporated" (with Roy's unsettling piano in the intro), and, for my money, "Drop On Down and Cover Me" has risen to the top of the list as Springsteen's greatest (known) unreleased performance. I played it dozens of times while working on this project and my esteem only grows. And yes, I applied the fade outs to it and "None But the Brave," as they should be.
Massive thanks to mjk5510 for his help in pitch-checking and correcting this material. He is a true friend of the firm and has already had a hand in many of our releases yet is volunteering for more. Thanks too go to C, for loaning us his copy of BIUSA Outtakes Three, and to J for digging deep into the JEMS vault to find the rough mixes which I knew were there, somewhere, even if I hadn't seen the tape in over 20 years.
Lastly, kudos to Pete and the indispensable Brucebase for his incredible work in piecing together details on the sessions. If you haven't reviewed it lately, Pete has massively updated the BIUSA section and it is must read: http://brucebase.wikispaces.co...SA+-+Studio+Sessions