Sound — 10
"The wild, The Innocent & The E Street Shuffle" is Bruce Springsteen's second album, and it doesn't feature the whole E Street Band yet. This album lacks the contributions of Max Weinberg (Drums on this one: Vini Lopez), Roy Bittan (Piano and lots of other stuff here: David Sancious) and Steve Van Zandt (all guitars on this album are played by Bruce himself). Nevertheless, this is my favourite Bruce Springsteen album, and one of my favourite albums ever. This album has a very distinct soul influence (stax-like horn arrangements), more than any other Springsteen album, but it also features wonderful folky acoustic guitar parts and great rocking electric playing. It opens very energetic, with the funky "The E Street Shuffle", and proceeds with a very intimate "4th of July, Ashbury Park (Sandy)". I knew the song from the "Live 1975-1985"-box, but this version is a lot better. Springsteen whispers the song, whereas he screams it out on the live version. The next song is "Kitty's back", a nostalgic song that starts slowly, but becomes a sort of swinging, big band influenced thing. The album proceeds with "Wild Billy's Circus Story", a Dylanesque narrating song with a cajun-sound (mainly because of the accordion). Up next is "Incident on 57th Street", which is a great ballad, with piano and a nice guitar intro. Then comes the best known song of the album, "Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)". It's one of Springsteen's best, a great enthousistic soul/rock thing. The album closes with "New York City Serenade", a 10 minute ballad with a classical/jazz piano intro and wonderful lyrics. A perfect way to close the album.
Lyrics — 10
The lyrics are great, in my opinion Springsteen has all the good aspects of Bob Dylan and Chuck Berry (as a songwriter), and James Brown and Otis Redding as a performer. One of my favourite lyrics on the album is the first line from the opening song: "Sparks fly on E Street when the boy prophets walk it handsome and hot/All the little girls' souls go weak when the man-child gives them a double shot". The songs are quite long (the shortes is 4 minutes and a half, but most of them are around seven minutes), but they never get boring. Bruces singing is great, he doesn't scream as much as on the "Live 1975-1985"-box (no offence, it's my second favourite Springsteen album, but his singing on this one is much better.
Overall Impression — 10
"The wild, the innocent & The E Street shuffle" is my favourite Bruce Springsteen album, and definetely one of my favourite albums of all time (together with The Rolling Stones' Exile on Main Street, Dylan's Blood on The Tracks, Grace by Jeff Buckley and The Beatles' Rubber Soul). I love the variety of genres it has: soul, folk, cajun, rock, jazz. My favourite songs are: "The E Street Shuffle", "4th of July, Ashbury Park (Sandy), "Wild Billy's Circus Story" and "Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)". If it were stolen or lost, I'd definetely get it again.