Four and a half years after releasing his last album, 1987's Tunnel of Love, Bruce Springsteen is returning to action with not one but two albums of new songs. The albums, Human Touch and Lucky Town, will be released simultaneously in the early spring. It is expected that a world tour – Springsteen's first since he disbanded the E Street Band – will start in the U.S. by the summer.
Unlike Guns n' Roses' Use Your Illusion I and II, which were basically two halves of a double album, the Springsteen discs are said to be distinctly separate albums, each with its own character and sound. One source who has heard the LPs described them as "different in sound – but both are rock albums." Thematically, they are said to be related in much the same way that Born in the U.S.A. was related to Nebraska. "Both have reflective material and potential singles," said another source. "What really differentiates them is the point of view of the writing, the perspective Bruce brings to the material."
Human Touch includes fourteen songs recorded at a number of Los Angeles studios, including A&M Studios, in Hollywood. It was produced by Springsteen, manager Jon Landau, Chuck Plotkin and former E Street Band member Roy Bittan. In addition to "Real World," "Soul Driver" and "57 Channels" – all of which Springsteen performed at two 1990 benefits for the Christic Institute at the Shrine Auditorium, in Los Angeles – the album includes "Cross My Heart," "Gloria's Eyes," "With Every Wish," "Roll of the Dice," "All or Nothin' at All," "Man's Job," "I Wish I Were Blind," "Long Goodbye," "Real Man," "Pony Boy" and the title track.
Lucky Town, produced by Springsteen with additional production assistance by Landau, Plotkin and Bittan, is made up of ten songs: "Better Days," "Local Hero," "If I Should Fall Behind," "Leap of Faith," "Big Muddy," "Living Proof," "Book of Dreams," "Souls of the Departed," "My Beautiful Reward" and the title track.
With the exception of "Roll of the Dice" and "Real World," which Springsteen wrote with Bittan, all of the songs were written solely by Springsteen.
Springsteen apparently settled on the musicians for his first post-E Street Band efforts quite painlessly. He initially worked with session drummer Jeff Porcaro on a version of "Viva Las Vegas" that appeared on the Elvis Presley tribute album The Last Temptation of Elvis; things "clicked," according to a source, and Springsteen brought Porcaro back for the Human Touch sessions.
In addition to Porcaro, Springsteen used bassist Randy Jackson and keyboardist Bittan as the core band on Human Touch. Another former E Street Band member, David Sancious, plays some keyboards on the album, and Mark Isham plays trumpet. Springsteen's wife, Patti Scialfa, contributes vocals, as do Bobby Hatfield of the Righteous Brothers, Sam Moore of Sam and Dave and Bobby King, who's best known for his work with Ry Cooder.
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