Picks and Pans Review: Chimes of Freedom

updated 10/24/1988 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 10/24/1988 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Bruce Springsteen

Good things come in small packages—including live Springsteen music. You can have the encyclopedic Live 1975-85, in all its five-record splendor. Or you might opt for this choice, economical new EP, four songs recorded live on Bruce's Tunnel of Love tour. If you go for the big boxed set, you're essentially contributing to what could be Julianne Phillips' share of a divorce settlement. Buy this little gem, and most of the profits go to benefit Amnesty International. (Maybe it's no coincidence that Springsteen has been doing so much charity work lately.) Chimes of Freedom offers an interesting variety of material. There's the patiently measured but intense Tougher than the Rest, which would sound even better without the extraneous horns. All the songs have been recorded with extraordinary clarity by Toby Scott. Bruce's vocals throughout are direct and gritty but marvelously artful and affecting in timbre and phrasing. The title track, a Bob Dylan composition, counterpoints Bruce's vocals against Roy Bittan's sprightly, clavierlike synthesizer. Be True is marked by some of the old Moorish bluster that characterized Springsteen's earlier work. The surprise is a quiet, deliberate, somewhat countrified acoustic rendition of Born to Run. This altered version of one of Bruce's fieriest rock war-horses is a revelation. That alone would make Chimes of Freedom worth possessing. (Columbia)

From Our Partners