“ Paperback: 236 pages / Publisher: Warner Bros / Published: July 1999 „
Bruce Springsteen Complete is a song book that I bought about three months ago as a joint present for me and my husband, who plays guitar and keyboards. The book is something of a tour-de-force, sized 30cms x 22cms by 1.5cms thick. The glossy, coloured front cover shows The Boss during his muscular Born in the USA days giving his Fender a serious seeing to.
Inside, at the beginning of the book, there are a further five pages featuring a montage of colour concert photos from the same era.
The 236 pages cover a total of 93 songs. A nice feature that you will find at the back of the book is an index of first lines, so if you remember the first words but can't place the song title, you'll be able to locate the song this way. Although the song book is described as 'complete,' it only covers material from the albums Asbury Park, The Wild, The Innocent and the E-Street Shuffle, Born to Run, Darkness on the Edge of Town, The River, Nebraska and Born in the USA. To be fair, a complete Bruce Springsteen compendium would weigh in at the size of a set of the Encyclopaedia Britannica and this collection still leaves plenty of material to go at. Alongside perennial favourites such as Dancing in the Dark, I'm on Fire, Hungry Heart, Jungleland and Racing in the Street, lesser known songs such as For You, Held up Without a Gun and Out of Work are also given a respectful place.
As is the norm with guitar song books, at the top of each song there is a caption box showing the chords used in the song. To Bruce Springsteen stalwarts, it's no surprise that many songs are constructed from just three or four major, minor or seventh chords and Born in the USA and State Trooper crafted from a very economical two chords apiece. You therefore don't need to be a guitar virtuoso to master these ditties. On the other hand, Born to Run with 14 chords and the hectic Rosalita, using the more exotic C11, provide rather more challenge.
Every song shows the music and words for the first verse and chorus with letters above the staff to show where the chord changes occur. Subsequent verses are presented after this in words only, which again, is fairly standard format.
So that concludes the description; what about the verdict? Without a doubt, for any Springsteen fan, it's a nice book to have, if only to learn the words in order to sing along at concerts. Maybe a few more photos would have been nice but it is first and foremost, a song book. Its musical coverage of the albums described is comprehensive and it was nice to rediscover some minor, forgotten gems and to get an insight into favoured chords and chord progressions.
In many ways, a song book is a song book and they all work in much the same way. The one major criticism of this book is the font size which must be ten point at the most. This has meant that my guitar playing husband really struggles to capture the text while playing, even with his glasses on. He said that he would have to write out the lyrics in large lettering before being able to play the songs and that he prefers to use the book as a reference tool to memorise the songs rather than use it as a book to work with in real time. Whether others would feel the same may depend on their eyesight and preferred song learning approach. Despite this one drawback, it's a great book to thumb through and be reminded of the songs. I'm still hoping that hubby will soon start writing out a few of the classics to serenade me at Christmas because tramps like us, baby we were born to run.
You don't have to be a Bruce Springsteen fan to buy this, if you like playing guitar and learning songs then this is a super purchase.
I paid £16.19 for our copy from Amazon. It is a ittle expensive but the book covers a lot of material and will be treasured. It looks very handsome sat next to all my other Springsteen books. I would like to award the book 4 and a half stars but can't so I'll give it 5 seeing that I am in a generous mood today.
Bruce Springsteen Complete Rocks!